• Posted On: April 30, 2020

As governors across the country come up with plans on when and how to reopen communities, it is important to plan for anything that may arise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other government officials have provided draft guidance to Washington to combat the coronavirus and reopen parts of the country, but this guidance may still be revised before being released to the public.

The CDC has put together “decision trees” for at least seven types of organizations including workplaces, schools, childcare centers, camps, religious facilities, mass transit systems, and bars/restaurants. With suggestions such as closing workplace break rooms, cloth-face covering requirements, and more, how do communities keep the public informed of the final guidelines by your governor?  And what do you do when businesses are not following those guidelines that state and local officials decided to adopt and enforce?

The ICMA recently released 10 ways to manage crisis communications during the COVID-19 pandemic. This can help local governments with strategies and insights to help make outreach and engagement as effective as possible.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made implementing crisis communication plans more difficult as government agencies have had to get creative on how to get the word out. A recent webinar titled Managing Crisis Communications During the COVID-19 Pandemic covered strategies and insights on engagement efforts during this historic time. There are five things to keep in mind while revising your crisis communication plan during this pandemic:

Have a plan. Make sure to establish your communication objectives while keeping the community’s bandwidth and prior communication activities in mind.

Communicate a clear message. The community needs to understand exactly what is happening to expect the guidelines to be followed.

Daily updates. Since things are rapidly changing, it is important if you want your community including businesses to understand what they can and can not do to frequently communicate. Providing one website landing page with updates and links out to various resources is a great way to keep all critical information in one location.

Shift from grassroots (in person) to calls and online tactics. While you may not be able to go door to door to inform businesses of upcoming changes, you can reach out via phone calls, letters, and online tactics. Launching an online survey to gather feedback on concerns, desires, and more builds trust that you want to make the businesses and community feel like a necessary part of the solution. Use social media efforts like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others to disseminate information once you have a plan in place on who will be in charge of updating these platforms, what content will be the focus, how feedback will be responded to, and more. These mediums need to be frequently monitored to also ensure no misinformation is being posted. If public meetings want to be held virtually, look into online tools such as Zoom.

Align the message with what the public wants to hear about. The public is most concerned with how things affect them, the businesses they frequent, the schools their children attend, and more. Businesses are concerned on when they will be able to reopen, and when they do, what will and won’t they be allowed to do. Making sure the community has clear expectations during this continual change will allow everyone to most effectively follow guidelines.

As your area begins to reopen, keep these Guidelines from the White House in mind for opening up America again. As your governor outlines the guidelines for your state, remember that Comcate software can help you by notifying businesses if they are out of compliance with these simple actions:

  • New violations and municipal codes can be added to Comcate in a few short clicks.
  • Existing notices can be edited to meet your needs in a single click or duplicated and modified to save as a new template.
  • Staff can open cases, upload pictures, and issue a citation within two minutes.
  • Reporting on new cases, violations cited, and citations issued specific to re-open activities is quick and easy for management using our robust reporting filters.

Find out how Comcate software can help you deal with these reopen issues.

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