The following blog was originally posted on the National League of Cities’ CitiesSpeak blog.
Countless written guides exist for re-opening a restaurant, furniture store, salon or gym. These guides are essential aids to the businesspeople who might not otherwise know how to prevent COVID-19 spread. We want these businesses open – albeit safely – to refuel our local economies.
However, there is very little guidance offered to local and state government departments on how to navigate the process of reopening the business of government, many with inspectors in the field and traditional public lobbies and counters for asking questions, making payments, and settling important business interactively. A government building, lobby, and offices have most of the same requirements for any office but likely bear added scrutiny
Accela enjoys a unique perspective spanning nearly 1,000 state, city, township, and village customers in our user community. Each government agency, each department, and each worker play a critical role as either a gatekeeper, facilitator, OR an accelerant. Spanning all three categories, we each bear the responsibility to do our part, pragmatically.
Accela first announced thirteen COVID-19 Solutions, a set of software services for registering re-opening businesses, vetting volunteers, clearing testing centers, etc. With many departmental workers working from home, customers benefited from the cloud-based access to essential systems and reporting.
Now, our attention turns to reopening government offices. Accela published a guide, COVID-19 Playbook: A Framework for State and Local Government Restoration and Reopening, for incremental opening of government departments and front counters. Whether your agency identifies as regulator, consumer protection, health and human services, or other, you may have already started (or will soon be asked) to reopen your government. This is for that strike force!
We recognize that US states make up a patchwork of plans and that local municipalities progress along those plans. We expect this framework to be a source of inspiration for the types of considerations that must be part of individual plans and to help guide dialog. Reopening is highly personal and intensely local, and with the right people in the room and a mission to accelerate safe and healthy conclusions, your success is assured.