The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our lives. We have, as a community, sacrificed to save lives. And we are going to have to continue to fight to get through this. We aren’t going to be back to “normal” by November, or January. Therefore, it is essential that we work to maintain and increase our resilience, and focus on what we can do now to set the stage for a strong recovery.
As we continue to address this ongoing crisis, we need to remain nimble and respond in a manner that is going to help bring us renewed success in the long term. This means:
- Continuing to allow our activities to be guided by the public health guidance that will reduce the spread and impact of COVID-19, and supporting our residents in following that guidance. This means developing and supporting innovative methods for people in our City to continue to live their lives while maintaining good social distancing. The City has successfully converted many of its processes and meetings to virtual formats—it should use the resources and knowledge it has developed to provide support to other local groups who are still struggling or forced to be on hiatus. In addition, Eugene should work on identifying and addressing barriers to virtual participation, such as lack of internet access, and work on providing both short term and long-term support so that our residents can continue to engage with each other while being socially distant. Eugene should also rapidly expand the Open Streets program, to allow more businesses to function with appropriate social distancing.
- As we work on rebuilding our local economy, we have the chance to make it stronger and more equitable than before. Some of the hardest-hit businesses and employers have been those who are small and local. Economic development is going to be a key activity over the next few years as we work to regain ground that was lost. Our economic recovery efforts should be targeted to help support the businesses that make Eugene unique, and at employers who provide good jobs to Eugene residents.