Allegheny Conference on Community Development
We are entering the balancing act of the COVID-19 response and recovery: Reopening.

Reopening requires us to balance protecting our public health and safety, and getting people back to work. When I start digging into the policies and actions of these two factors, it’s clear we’ll need to balance the scale, as one can quickly begin to overpower the other. COVID-19 has impacted the world in ways no one anticipated, but we can steadfastly fight its spread while reopening our economy by staying smart and working the way Pittsburgh always has: collaboratively, creatively and diligently.  

As we reflect on the past several weeks, we are encouraged by the resilience and ingenuity of our region, but we know what lies ahead will present new challenges.

In the outbreak phase, we focused on addressing immediate issues, such as sharing critical information, gathering strategic input, coordinating response efforts, and informing early policy interventions.

In the stay-at-home phase, we focused on addressing near-term issues, such as equipping businesses and community organizations with essential knowledge and resources to manage the disruptions caused by the pandemic, establishing an active feedback loop between public officials and business and community leaders, informing state and federal policy interventions, and brokering opportunities around critical supplies and workforce issues.

In the current reopening phase, we are focusing on creating capacity and preparedness for the safe, phased reopening of the economy. We will focus on engaging a broad mix of stakeholders to help define what business preparedness and next phase activities looks like for various sectors and organizations. It also includes coordination of a broad community support system to ensure protection of vulnerable populations and availability of critical services and resources. We will continue to inform policy interventions in this phase.

In the early recovery phase, we will need to focus on establishing the “new normal” functioning of the regional economy, which will have to include robust and highly coordinated efforts to restore confidence in public health, business activity, regional vibrancy, and community resilience. We will also launch a “Back to Work” toolkit to assist companies in designing their return to work strategies and workplace plans.

To ensure our region’s recovery puts us back on the path to creating the vital, globally competitive region we were building before the pandemic, we’ll tap our collaborative spirit. So, just as we did to create our vision for vitality, we will reach out far and wide across the region, inviting input and engagement. We’ll begin with our (virtual) annual summit in the recovery phase.

As our region always does, we will take the next steps together and with shared values. We’ll get to common ground to overcome the obstacles we face. And we will emerge stronger on the other side.


Stefani Pashman
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