While taking concrete actions to “flatten the curve” by reducing the speed of transmission, cities around the state also recognize the importance of offering support and a boost in morale to residents and local businesses. As we enter nearly the fourth week of the state’s stay-at-home order, cities continue to find innovative ways to expand virtual services to their communities, so that residents can continue to receive the services they need.
Recognizing and Supporting First Responders
With personal protective equipment hard to come by, the City of Monterey
is working with the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
to collect masks for first responders. The city is holding the drive April 1-10 and is asking residents, businesses, and nonprofits to donate new N95-rated masks to help protect first responders. Due to high demand and a potential increase in COVID-19 emergency calls, the city is asking members of the public to donate any spare masks they have for use by firefighters, police officers, and public works staff.
The City of San Francisco
found a colorful way to show appreciation by lighting up City Hall on designated days in April to thank first responders and health care workers. Every evening at sunset, over 220 LED lighting fixtures illuminate City Hall's exterior. Blue lights are in honor of health care workers; red, white, and blue lights honor first responders; and gold is in honor of front line workers.
Expanding Virtual Access to City Services for Residents
To give residents easy access to basic assistance for services, the City of Half Moon Bay, in coordination with the county, nonprofit, and community-based organizations, offers an online resource center with daily COVID-19 update
s for residents, a list of resources including food, shelter, health care, child care, personal financial support, and support for businesses. There is also information on how to help others by volunteering, donating, or supporting local businesses.
The City of Oceanside
through its public library has been making “on hold” book deliveries to front doors and holding social media story times.
Supporting the Local Economy
Cities are developing online resources to help residents locate local businesses that are open and providing necessary services during the current stay-at-home order. The City of Redlands
launched an interactive map, called Redlands Open for Business, which includes links with information about business hours of operation, location, and additional services offered while practicing physical distancing.
The City of Fullerton asks their residents to support local restaurants during this time and created a dedicated website called Dine Fullerton
. The resource includes a list of dining options available, a map, and links to the restaurant’s website with hours of operation, and contact information to make it convenient for residents to access food close to their home.
Due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Long Beach
accelerated its launch of the “Work Long Beach” program. With schools, parks, and other children-serving facilities closed, and private organizations temporarily laying off workers, the city recognizes a surplus of certified individuals who are out of work. The program is a collaboration of public agencies and providers that matches out-of-work childcare professionals with families and essential personnel, including low-income families and those in public safety and healthcare. Long Beach is the first in the nation to have this online platform.
“Our hope is that all of the families who provide critical services and risk their lives for our community are able to obtain the childcare that they need during this health crisis,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.
Staying Connected With and Assisting Vulnerable Populations
Many cities are finding ways to stay connected with their most vulnerable populations during the crisis to keep their spirits up. The City of Culver City is publishing a print newsletter called “Senior Center at Home
” which is distributed to 3,000 senior center members in the community. The newsletter includes creative writing projects, health and wellness tips, coronavirus scam info, and online exercise classes.
To encourage older residents to stay safe at home during the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Torrance
started its Torrance Cares 2-Go care Package program. City employees prepare and deliver packages which include pre-selected essential grocery and sanitary items that are sourced from an area grocer. The program is geared towards Torrance residents
including seniors (60 years of age and older), those with disabilities, and with underlying health conditions. The city has been doing the program for just a couple of weeks and already delivered hundreds of packages so far.
Staying Connected Through Community Engagement
Many residents are wondering how they can help their neighbors and communities during this crisis. The City of Menlo Park
makes it easy for volunteers to see what opportunities are available by curating resources into one blog post and sharing it through social media platforms to reach residents.
Cities are recognizing and finding ways to keep their communities safe and boost morale. The city of Burbank came up with a campaign called Burbank Together at Home
, encouraging the community to Be Supportive, Be Local, Be Active, Be Smart, and Be Kind. Residents can take part in the campaign through social media by using the hashtag #BurbankTogetherAtHome when taking part in a virtual workout, and shopping from a local online retailer. The businesses, resources, and acts of kindness are featured on the city’s social media channels on a daily basis and added to the City of Burbank
The City of San Marino
, and the City of Stockton’s Recreation Department
are posting on their social media channels to engage the community in physical distancing activities like chalking your walk, at home exercise routines, themed days, and ideas for backyard picnics in order to stay healthy while at home.
As cities work to provide resources and information for their residents, the League continues to update the coronavirus resource and response webpage
as a resource for city staff. Daily updates on COVID-19 news, resources, and guidance specifically geared toward local leaders will help local governments navigate the current situation and is updated as new developments occur.
Cities that would like to share the actions they have taken in response to coronavirus can contact the communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org
. If you have questions related to COVID-19, please send them to email@example.com