PNWER has been awarded an EDA Grant to develop a Comprehensive Regional Pandemic Resilience Roadmap following the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be an opportunity to build upon PNWER's previous work in 2010 on a Comprehensive Community Bio-Event Resilience Action Plan following the H1N1 pandemic.
The primary focus of this project is to produce a Roadmap to improve capacities of communities to safely and successfully address the challenges and economically recover from a pandemic. The project will identify gaps, examine what can be improved, and define an implementation plan for best practices and methods identified nationwide with a cross-sector and multi-discipline approach. Shortening the period of maximum economic constraint will do much to limit the economic damages done to individuals, families, and small businesses.
This effort will also provide valuable lessons learned that can be used immediately and shared with other metropolitan areas across the United States facing similar challenges. The Roadmap will include a playbook for use by other regions of the nation.
The Comprehensive Pandemic Resilience Roadmap will incorporate lessons learned from COVID-19 pandemic and pandemic resilience best practices with a strong focus on economic challenges in the context of health safety, the implications for preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation, and identify needs and respective improvement actions. The Roadmap will help with the present pandemic and prepare the Central Puget Sound for future pandemics while at the same time assisting in lessening future blows to the economic welfare of the region, by enhancing capacity of local governments, economic development agencies, and business associations to be better prepared for safe operation, and economic survival.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a host of additional complex issues and shortfalls, including unexpected, deleterious, and far-reaching repercussions for local and regional economies that demonstrate limited understanding of and capabilities to address competing interests and needs in the context of inter-related economic and health resilience demands. These challenges cut across the resilience mission areas of protection, preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery, and include an extensive range of new needs. Looking just at economic recovery, issues include healthcare and business supply chains; human resource considerations, such as protecting staff, sick leave, emergency leave, flexible child-care arrangements, dealing with ill workers, telecommuting, insurance coverage, etc.; better informed and coordinated decision-making across communities to address risks associated with business closure and restarts, quarantines, and social distancing versus health impacts; and how to keep businesses and other entities in operation and attract new investments and economic development opportunities. An overarching challenge is how to address the impact of social media on public behavior, fears, and attitudes that have a direct bearing on economic recovery. Beyond this, communities and regions need to not only recover, but they need to have the resources, tools, and other capabilities to build and sustain pandemic resilience to thrive and grow.