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A task force consisting of trusted and prominent leaders in business, government, healthcare and education is working to develop strategies and guidelines for a successful relaunch of the regional economy following the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The RELAUNCH Greater Lansing: Economic Rehabilitation Task Force is focused on developing a comprehensive strategy for industries within the Greater Lansing region to safely and successfully reopen business.

“This task force was carefully and strategically assembled,” said Tim Daman, president & CEO, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. “It was important that we have health care professionals guiding us as we determine the best, most effective way to move forward. Collectively, we are creating a blueprint on how businesses should reopen successfully and sustain economic growth.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Safe Start plan, is focused on re-engaging Michigan’s economy by a regional, phased-in approach. Under the Governor’s plan, Greater Lansing is part of Region 5 and will be working with officials from Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot and Shiawassee counties. RELAUNCH Greater Lansing is uniquely positioned to work closely with the state in providing and communicating the necessary guidelines to support employers throughout our region.

“We need to work collaboratively to identify best practices and responses for Lansing businesses so they can reopen while ensuring safety for employees and customers,” said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor. “We are committed to continuing to help our local businesses as they navigate the immediate and long-term challenges created by the coronavirus crisis.”

As part of its plan to build actionable strategies to relaunch the regional economy, the RELAUNCH Greater Lansing Task Force will compile resources to serve as a blueprint for restarting business operations. The group’s efforts will ensure proper health protocols are in place to re-establish employee, customer and community confidence as we build economic resiliency.  

“There is an overwhelming amount of information that businesses must be aware of in reopening their operations successfully, and in a way that supports the health and safety of their employees, customers and vendors,” said Tico Duckett, CEO, Duckett Brothers Distributing. “Having a checklist of all the issues to consider will smooth the process and help ensure a smart and safe approach for all.”

“It will be important for business owners to understand the proper protocols for communicating with their employees and customers regarding the critical health and safety issues involved with COVID-19,” said Linda Vail, health officer, Ingham County Health Department. “Employers will need to understand how to protect their employees by screening, creating workplace distancing, cleaning and sanitation, encouraging good hygiene habits and what to do when an employee might be sick with COVID-19.  Testing and working with local officials to support contact tracing, quarantine and isolation will be critical as we re-enter the workforce.”

The RELAUNCH Greater Lansing Task Force understands the critical role of education in our regional economy. The group will work closely with educators in supporting strategies to restart K-12 and workforce-related issues.

“Education is one of the largest employers in the state and although we are not providing face-to-face instruction, we have not stopped working during this crisis,” said Jason Mellema, superintendent, Ingham Intermediate School District.  “Business, education, and community leadership need to work together to find a balance that incorporates both safety and economic opportunity so our region can continue to prosper, and our children’s future remains bright.”

Members of the RELAUNCH Greater Lansing Task Force include:

Terrance Augustine, Eaton County Board of Commissioners

Farhan Bhatti, M.D., Care Free Medical

Bryan Crenshaw, Ingham County Board of Commissioners

Tim Daman, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce

Tico Duckett, Duckett Brothers Distributing

Brent Forsberg, T.A. Forsberg

Peter Graham, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Physicians Health Plan

Kevin Irwin, TechSmith

Janet Lillie, Michigan State University

Jason Mellema, Ingham Intermediate School District

Bob Mooney, Meijer

Julie Pingston, Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau

Matt Resch, Resch Strategies

Carrie Rosingana, Capital Area Michigan Works!

Andy Schor, Mayor, City of Lansing

Patricia Scott, Foster Swift

Bob Trezise, Lansing Economic Area Partnership

Linda Vail, Ingham County Health Department

Kam Washburn, Clinton County Board of Commissioners

Mike Zamiara, Niowave