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Article Article May 26th, 2020
Health • Cities • Legitimacy • Innovation

COVID-19 Local Leadership Champions

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Govt leadership is vital for #pandemicresponse. These #COVID19leadership Champions are leading the charge to #FightCOVID19.

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Key ingredients to effective #COVID19 response? Empathy, confidence-building, and bold action by local government leaders!

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As the US locks down from #COVID19, the COVID-19 Local Leadership Champions are stepping up with commendable actions to #FightCOVID19

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This document is updated regularly. The newest stories are marked with an asterisk. (Last updated: 05/27/2020)  

Across North America, as hundreds of millions of citizens experience lockdown in the wake of COVID-19, the governors, mayors, city councils, and local officials that serve them are stepping up. Each week, the Centre for Public Impact North America scours the news and constituent nominations to select and honor public servants who demonstrated exceptional leadership in recent days.

If you have witnessed exceptional leadership, say thank you with a nomination.

Engaging with empathy

Leaders are listening to resident concerns and communicating that they understand their fears. They are speaking in human terms and sparking solidarity.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez

  • On March 18, Suarez penned an Op-Ed in the New York Times titled: I'm the Mayor of Miami, and I Have the Coronavirus.
  • He discussed his symptoms, his anxieties, and his determination to help see the city through this crisis. He also has been posting daily updates on his Instagram documenting his symptoms and addressing his constituents in an effort to put a face to COVID-19 and keep them informed.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear

  • On March 25, Beshear opened up his daily Coronavirus update with a specially produced 10-minute video for preschoolers and young children who might not understand the current situation. On March 20, his office also produced a video aimed at older children and teenagers.  His daily updates emphasize the need to take care of oneself and show solidarity with one's community. Beshear also lifts up selfless acts happening throughout the state.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

  • On March 24, during his regular Coronavirus update, Andrew Cuomo ended his briefing with a much-praised speech centered around his love for New York, and New York's love for its citizens.
  • In a funny, affectionate, stern, and extremely personal March 31 news conference, Andrew Cuomo revealed that his younger brother, CNN's Chris Cuomo, has tested positive for COVID-19. Filled with anecdotes about their childhood and love for each other, Governor Cuomo used the situation to dramatically illustrate several key points about this virus, including the extreme likelihood of exposure if you're in public regularly, and the risks that asymptomatic carriers pose to elderly relatives, such as their mother.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock

  • During a March 31 news conference, where he announced multiple relief measures including freezing evictions, stopping utility shutoffs, and prohibiting late fees, Governor Bullock spoke movingly about the need for Montanans to have shelter, saying

As long as this virus forces Montanans to shelter at home, Montanans need to have a home to shelter in.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum 

  • On March 19, Mayor Bynum jumped on the nationwide trend of decorating a tree in his yard to show solidarity amidst the crisis. Bynum encouraged residents to follow his lead, saying:

When you're going through a dark time, it can help to see a light in the darkness.

  • In an April 1 op-ed for the New York Times titled “I'm a Red-State Mayor and I Ordered My City to Stay Home,” Mayor Bynum wrote eloquently about the challenges of enacting a shelter-in-place order in a red city, of his method of following “logic and science” and assuming “the worst” when the lack of testing gave him little data to go off of. He also wrote about how closing all of the restaurants, entertainment venues, and bars was one of the worst days of his life, knowing the unemployment it would cause.

Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla 

  • Highlighted in an April 2 article, Mayor De La Isla is focused on supporting the most vulnerable. She regularly reads stories to children on Facebook to help relieve stress on parents, posts bike riding videos to show how to safely exercise outside, and works “overtime” to ensure that the population of people experiencing homelessness (which she used to be a part of) has space to social distance while in shelters.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor 

  • Beginning on April 7, Mayor Jane Castor will host a daily citywide “virtual dance party” broadcast by local radio stations. “Mayor Jane's Karaoke Dance Party” is aimed at promoting a sense of community and normalcy, while also encouraging people to exercise and combat the depression and anxiety associated with social distancing and lockdowns.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot

  • On April 8, Mayor Lightfoot wholeheartedly embraced a social media meme that jokingly photoshopped her into increasingly unlikely places, driving away crowds with what has become a trademark scowl. Her memorable social media campaign now focuses on humor, self-deprecation, and even trash talk - “Your jump shot is always gonna be weak. Stay out of the parks,” reads an ad, posted over a still from one of her press conferences.

Your jump shot is always gonna be weak. Stay out of the parks.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham 

  • On April 12 during an interview, Governor Lujan Grisham focused extensively on the special challenges and hardships faced by the Navajo people within the state in dealing with coronavirus. She noted that 25% of the state's cases of COVID-19 were Native American, and talked about reaching out to specifically provide assistance and leadership to tribal leaders.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine 

  • On March 25, DeWine emphasized his commitment to protecting his residents in a speech, saying that

The essential job of this government is to protect its people, especially the most vulnerable. These decisions weren't easy, but they were based on protecting Ohioans' lives.

  • During a March 30 news conference, Mike DeWine focused a segment on the need for local communities to include homeless shelters in their pandemic plans. He announced the creation of a task force to specifically address preventing the spread of COVID-19 within the population of individuals experiencing homelessness and emphasized the need to reduce crowding at shelters.
  • On April 13 and April 14, Governor DeWine used vivid imagery to help people understand the ongoing threat of the virus, even after lockdown measures are lifted. He repeatedly called the virus a “monster” that would be “lurking around us” until a vaccine was developed, even when society reopened. DeWine emphasized the need for those in positions of responsibility to begin planning on how to safely reopen their business or organization. DeWine also pushed back on attempts to accelerate reopening the economy.

Denton County Judge Andy Eads 

  • On April 16, Judge Eads paid a moving tribute to his friend, Trophy County Mayor Nick Sanders, who lost his son to COVID-19 while he and his wife were already battling the virus. He went on to speak emotionally and emphatically about the need to take COVID-19 seriously, explicitly taking on the argument that it's no worse than the flu. He ended the announcement with a detailed breakdown of the local state of testing, recoveries, and health updates.

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott 

  • In an April 17 profile, Mayor Scott talked about the unique challenges of locking down a city in a state with no stay-at-home order, how his faith keeps him grounded and guided during the pandemic, and the day-to-day worries of keeping his citizens safe in this unprecedented situation.

People are making their own decision to stay home, and that's exactly what they should be doing.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed 

  •  On April 21, Mayor Breed recruited hundreds of San Francisco City workers into emergency roles, focused on assisting and protecting the most vulnerable during the pandemic. The city now has "election staffers aiding the homeless," as well as "librarians delivering food to the hungry."

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner 

  • On April 8, Mayor Turner had a special press conference with the Baptist Ministers Association of Houston. He made an emotional call for church leaders to reach out to those “on the margins” in their congregations, noting how the virus had struck disproportionately among minority and working-class populations.
  • On April 27, Mayor Turner spoke movingly of his concern for the working-class people of Houston, saying that as someone born into poverty in Houston his primary concern is making sure that the workers who “are serving the tables” and “working on the frontline” are kept safe.

I know the numbers are favorable, but every day we are adding to the number of people testing positive for COVID-19. I want to emphasize as steps are being taken to reopen ... that the virus is still prevalent and there are still things that we need to do.

Worcester Mayor Joe Petty 

  • On April 28, Mayor Petty continued his daily program of highlighting the “unsung heroes” of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each hero receives a Facebook photo feature and public recognition for their hard work. Individuals throughout the city government can nominate someone for recognition, resulting in a wide variety of citizens being honored. On April 28th, those highlighted included board members from a local charity, two members of the city's Emergency Management team, and the Child Life Specialists at UMass Worcester.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson 

  • On May 4, Mayor Jackson announced the creation of a “ReStart CLE” plan, which focused on providing aid to struggling small businesses and residents. It will also serve as a vital means of keeping Clevelanders “safe and healthy” and able to maintain quarantine and social distancing.

Virginia Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver 

  • On May 10, Commissioner Oliver stepped in and forced the city of Petersburg to restore water service to residents who had had their utilities shut off due to unpaid bills.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan 

  • On May 11, Mike Dugan laid out how Detroit was beating the coronavirus. Dugan detailed decreasing deaths, decreasing infections, and increasing recoveries. He clearly communicated that Detroit was on the right path, and provided hope for the future.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle's City Council 

  • On April 30, Mayor Durkan issued an emergency order capping third-party delivery fees and mandating that 100% of tips go to drivers. The order came after widespread complaints from small businesses that the exorbitant fees charged by apps were threatening to put them out of business.

You had owners of businesses … doing the deliveries themselves and working around the clock.

  • On May 19, Mayor Durkin signed emergency legislation requiring landlords to provide repayment plans for tenants who were unable to continue paying rent during the city's state of emergency and up to six months afterward.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf 

  • On April 22, Mayor Schaaf posted a short video highlighting a local couple who owned a childcare service that could afford to stay open thanks to a loan from the city. The couple used the funds to continue to provide childcare services for the families of essential workers.
  • On May 19, Mayor Schaaf announced that a new testing facility was set up in East Oakland, specifically in response to widespread concerns over significant racial disparities in testing, infection, and mortality rates.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum *

  • On May 23, Governor Burgum visibly teared up as he decried the growing polarization around mask-wearing. His voice shook as he described those who were wearing masks to help their child with cancer, or an immuno-compromised parent. Burgum's moving words captured the attention of his state and the nation.

Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson*

  • On May 25, Mayor Nelson received a profile in CNN highlighting her twin battles of a cancer diagnosis while managing a massive outbreak of COVID-19 in Amarillo, Texas. The piece described how these challenges made her a more empathetic leader. In particular, Mayor Nelson partnered with a local television station to promote mental health resources, including a Q&A with children about how to handle the pandemic's stress. She also leaned heavily into emphasizing a sense of community and solidarity surrounding the wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing.

Articulating a clear, simple plan that builds confidence

Leaders are reducing anxiety and bringing residents a sense of control with easy-to-understand plans highlighting the most important collective actions of government and society.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed

  • Mayor Breed announced, on March 30, that the shelter-in-place order would be extended until May 1. She emphasized the need to keep citizenry informed of the city's plans as soon as they were made, noting that she announced the extension specifically to prevent citizens and businesses from making plans based around the original end date of April 7.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee

  • Governor Inslee laid out, in detail, the exact consequences that citizens and businesses can expect for violating his stay-at-home order in a March 31 news conference. He walked through the escalating consequences for each subsequent violation, giving both law enforcement and citizens throughout the state a simple and clear playbook to follow.

Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla 

  • On April 2, Mayor De La Isla set up a “warm line” (as opposed to a hotline) connecting volunteers in the community with sad, lonely, scared or frustrated individuals who require some form of assistance that doesn't violate quarantine or simply need someone to check in on them.

The whole idea is figuring out how to pair volunteers in the community that are looking for something to do because they care and they want to do something positive, but also, providing an avenue for the people that are at home, struggling with anxiety, feeling lonely and needing somebody to call in and check in on them.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine 

  • On April 7, Governor DeWine laid out a clear and detailed plan for selecting which prisoners can be released early to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons. He also laid out clear red lines of prisoners who would never be released early into the public, including murderers and sex offenders, while leaving open the possibility for expanding the criteria of who qualified for early release.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti 

  • On March 20, Garcetti gave an interview on MSNBC where he laid out the reasoning and logic behind his early citywide shelter-in-place order. He pointed to the importance of flattening the curve and repeatedly emphasized the point that:

If it feels wrong [too early], it is the right time to do it, by the time it feels right it is too late.

  • On April 13, Mayor Garcetti reached into history to illustrate the need to continue social distancing even after the peak had passed. He drew comparisons to the 1918 actions of LA and San Francisco, the latter of which quickly ended requirements regarding face coverings and public gatherings after the peak and subsequently saw a resurgence in cases.
  • On April 15, Mayor Garcetti announced that large gatherings, such as "concerts and sporting events," likely would not resume until 2021 without "a vaccine, some sort of pharmaceutical intervention, or herd immunity."

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther 

  • On April 20, Mayor Ginther outlined a specific, 5-point list of that must be met before Columbus would reopen. Rather than focus on specific dates that the city would reopen, Mayor Ginther based his criteria on testing capacity, guidance and assistance from the state government, and a statewide mask requirement.

California Governor Gavin Newsom

  • On April 14, Governor Newsom outlined the six steps that the state needed to take before they would be able to begin reopening parts of the economy. Those steps included expanding testing, reworking regulations to implement social distancing in a reopened economy, reworking procedures to protect the elderly, increasing stockpiles of protective gear, and new enforcement mechanisms that allow the state to reimpose lockdowns as necessary.

There is no light switch here, it's more like a dimmer. I know you want the timeline, but we can't get ahead of ourselves and dream of regretting. Let's not make the mistake of pulling the plug too early, as much as we want to.

  • On April 28, Governor Newsom outlined a clear, four-stage process for reopening businesses throughout the state. Each business is assigned a rank of 1-4 (determined by physical proximity and necessity) that will determine the order in which they reopen.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice 

  • On April 28, Governor Justice announced a six-step plan to reopen the state. Crucially, the plan came with an automatic fail-safe: if too many people tested positive for COVID-19, the re-opening of the state would halt or reverse until the infection rate decreased back to manageable levels.

Maine Governor Janet Mills 

  • On April 28, Governor Mills laid out a clear, four-step plan to reopen the state. Importantly, each stage would last an entire month before proceeding towards the next, buying time for the state to ramp up its testing and tracking abilities.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer 

  • On April 28, Mayor Fischer sat down with local public station WFPL and gave a clear, comprehensive outline on the resources the city brought to bear to fight COVID-19, the exact benchmarks the city needed to hit before opening, and a step-by-step plan outlining what the rest of the pandemic would look like in Louisville until a vaccine was developed.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo 

  • On March 25, Cuomo laid out his twin goals for the outbreak: “flatten the curve,” and increase capacity. He then clearly explained several measures that had been taken to achieve each goal. He repeated this message in a tweet later that day.
  • On April 7, Governor Cuomo laid out a clear and simple plan focusing on how the city and the state will eventually open back up. The plan centered around testing, both for antibodies and for the active virus, quickly and at the scale needed to process huge numbers of New Yorkers. He identified the logistical challenges to instituting this testing regime and announced a prospective partnership with New Jersey and Connecticut to bring testing capacity quickly to scale.
  • On May 4, Governor Cuomo laid out a plan to reopen New York state. He outlined benchmarks and paths that must be met to reopen an area. His plan notably provided different timelines for different regions of the state.

If upstate has to wait for downstate to be ready... they're going to be waiting for a long time.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker 

  • On May 7, Governor Pritzker laid out a detailed, multi-stage plan for Illinois to follow until a vaccine or a treatment is developed. The state plan divides Illinois into four regions and requires them meeting hard, tangible metrics before they can reopen.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker 

  • On April 29, Governor Baker announced that Massachusetts would remain closed for another two weeks while laying out the guidelines that the state would need to meet before opening back up again.
  • On May 11, Governor Baker announced a four-stage plan for reopening the state, based on measurable benchmarks. Critically, the plan includes a provision anticipating that areas may halt or reimposed lockdown measures if the situation worsens.

Hawaii Governor David Ige

  • On May 18, Governor Ige laid out a detailed, multi-stage plan for Hawaii to “live with COVID-19.” Though the Governor moved cautiously, he took into account the state's unique island advantages when slowing the spread of the virus.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh 

  • On May 19, Mayor Walsh announced the reopening plans for the City of Boston. Walsh laid out a step-by-step approach and outlined how and why the city's plans differed from the state, including Boston's commuter status.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms *

  • On May 21, Mayor Bottoms announced a five-stage plan to reopen Atlanta amid the coronavirus pandemic. Crucially, the plan did not include specific dates, but instead articulated benchmarks and milestones that the city must hit before it could move on to the next phase.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio *

  • On May 20, Mayor de Blasio announced a four-part plan to secure the city's 169 nursing homes and help protect them from the COVID-19 outbreak. The plan centers around free mass testing for all residents and staff and 10 "outbreak teams" to respond to flare-ups.

Whatever amount of tests they need, whatever amount of lab capacity they need, we will find it for them.

Demonstrating commitment through bold action

Leaders are following words with action. They are making bold decisions and demonstrating the consequences if people don't act. When plans fail or come up short (because all good leaders will fail and adapt when addressing rapidly evolving and complex problems) they admit it, share their learnings, and ask people to move on with them.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear

  • On March 20, Beshear changed the benefits given to newly unemployed Kentuckians, doubling their first check and eliminating a week-long waiting period. He also made several programs, including Medicaid and SNAP benefits, available to those who had lost their jobs due to coronavirus. Beshear additionally extended all public benefits an by three months beyond their previous expiration date, stating:

There is no stigma for public assistance. We want everybody who qualifies to be on it.

Jacksonville, FL Mayor Lenny Curry

  • On March 24, Curry threatened to condemn businesses that violated shutdown orders by shutting off their utilities.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

  • On March 25, DeWine announced on Twitter that he has already “taken action” against one company that “clearly are not essential but remain open,” and that he will continue with further such actions towards entities violating shutdown orders. On March 24, DeWine called on the public to report businesses that remained open despite his orders.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam

  • On March 31, Governor Northam included in his stay-at-home order a provision that prohibited colleges and universities from holding in-person classes, a quick and decisive response to a local university's decision to welcome students back the week of March 30.

California Department of Corrections

  • On March 31, the California Department of Corrections announced a plan to reduce their prison population to 3,500 inmates by expediting parole for low-level non-violent offenders. It further announced that it was no longer taking transfers from local jails, which could reduce the inmate population by another 3,000 within a month, in order to reduce the risk of mass COVID-19 outbreaks in crowded prisons.

New York Mayor Bill De Blasio

  • Bill De Blasio announced on March 31 that New York City would immediately release 900 non-violent offenders from its jails, as coronavirus spreads throughout its prison system.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum 

  • On April 1, Mayor Bynum penned an op-ed entitled "I'm a Red-State Mayor and I Ordered My City to Stay Home." The piece detailed his bold decision to order a shelter-in-place in Oklahoma. While Bynum's actions were polarizing among his constituency, Bynum firmly believes:

Most people are willing to sacrifice a bit of freedom and convenience to protect the lives of the people they love. And in the end, love of neighbor is more important at a local level than political party or ideology. This is what will get us through the current pandemic together.

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services 

  • On April 7, the ODJFS announced that all individuals enrolled in SNAP who were not already receiving the maximum allotment possible in March will receive a payment making up the difference in the coming week. It also announced plans to have all SNAP-eligible households be able to pick up a pre-packaged box of food at their local food bank.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis 

  • On April 8, Governor Polis activated 250 members of the state National Guard to help staff temporary homeless shelters, recently constructed to ensure proper social distancing.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice 

  • On April 8, Governor Justice announced that he would be activating members of the state National Guard who had recently lost their jobs, employing them full-time to help process the overwhelming amount of unemployment claims flooding the state systems.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner 

  • On April 13, Mayor Turner announced that the city secured access to enough testing to begin tests for all individuals who wanted them, no longer limiting testing to only those who have symptoms.

Governors Cuomo, Baker, Lamont, Wolf, Raimondo, Murphy, and Carney 

  • On April 13 a bipartisan coalition of seven northeastern and mid-Atlantic states announced a joint effort to study and coordinate how to reopen their economies/ societies and working together to contain the virus.

“I believe the worst is over if we continue to be smart,” Mr. Cuomo said during his daily briefing in Albany. “I believe we can start on the path to normalcy.”

  • By April 20, the aforementioned Governors all instituted some form of rule requiring masks for individuals in public, with the requirements ranging from masks required for essential workers only (Rhode Island) to all individuals in public who cannot stay 6 feet away from others at all times (New York and New Jersey.)

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan 

  • On April 20, Governor Hogan announced that Maryland had secured a shipment of 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea thanks to a month-long negotiation between Maryland state officials and South Korea. He thanked his wife, Yumi Hogan, who was born in South Korea, saying she was "a champion" in the effort.

If there were an easier way, we certainly would have taken it. The president said the governors are on their own and they should focus on getting their own tests, and that's exactly what we did.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson & the Dallas City Council 

  • On April 22, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson announced that the Dallas City Council funded a $5 million relief fund for local small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and a $6.1 million relief fund in renters and mortgage assistance for low and moderate-income residents.

Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox 

  • On April 28, Lt. Governor Cox announced that Utah would provide a free mask to every resident who wanted one. The state will be working with Utah businesses to manufacture and distribute the masks, which the Lt. Governor claimed would help save another 200 jobs.

Birmingham, Alabama City Council 

  • On April 29, the Birmingham City Council voted 8-1 to require people to wear face masks when in public, making them the first city in Alabama to do so.

I want to make it clear. People need to take this seriously because we are not out of the woods, and I think this is the right thing to do from a public safety and health stand point- Mayor Randall Woodfin

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer 

  • On April 29, Governor Whitmer announced a program called “Futures for Frontliners,” where essential workers who have worked during the COVID-19 pandemic would be eligible to receive a free college education if they haven't already.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker 

  • On April 7, Governor Charlie Baker announced a plan to inject $800 million into Massachusetts health care to keep struggling hospitals afloat and shore up budgets of nursing homes, community health centers, and others, in order to double to state's ICU capacity.
  • On April 16, Governor Baker's first-in-the-nation mass expansion of contact tracers began working to track and inform all Massachusetts residents who were exposed to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. This 1,000 person force is expected to be expanded as the state embarks on an unprecedented effort to get ahead of the spread of the virus.
  • On May 4, Governor Baker announced that Massachusetts would begin requiring citizens to wear face masks outside if they were not able to properly social distance, and that each violation of this order would be met with a $300 fine.

Newark City Mayor Ras Baraka 

  • On May 5, Mayor Baraka began an initiative to test the entire  population of people experiencing homelessness in Newark for Covid-19. This initiative built off a previous effort, where the city partnered with a local hotel to house all 200 of its “chronically homeless” residents, who typically refused to stay at shelters—the centralized location allowed for this first-in-the-nation effort to simultaneously test an entire community's population of people experiencing homelessness.

We had to get our residents without addresses off the street and inside for their own safety and the safety of others. We were able to encourage many of them to come indoors, and today we start testing those who have so far been asymptomatic, to gather more data about how this disease has spread.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh 

  • On March 30, Mayor Walsh announced a plan to ensure up to 1,000 homeless or at-risk families who have children in Boston Public Schools receive rental vouchers to keep them off of the streets during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Homelessness creates barriers for our students to grow, learn and succeed, and schools being closed presents even more challenges for families experiencing housing insecurity. These vouchers ... will support our students in critical ways and help us get closer to our goal of ending homelessness in Boston.

  • On April 9, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the city negotiated a three-month mortgage deferral with 12 banks. During this time, no late fees will be charged, and no reports will be made with credit agencies.
  • On May 11, Marty Walsh announced plans to begin closing streets throughout Boston to cars, allowing residents of the city space to walk outside while maintaining social distancing. Included in plan were ideas to create “pedestrian lanes” throughout the city, effectively expanding sidewalks to allow for increased mobility amid surging of foot traffic.

California Department of Social Services 

  • On May 12, CDSS began sending families with free or reduced school lunches P-EBT cards for $365 per child, to help pay for meals normally provided by school districts. Crucially, this assistance is in addition to grab-n-go regular meals provided by local school districts.

L.A. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer 

  • On May 12, Director Ferrer announced that L.A. County's “stay-at-home” orders would likely last through July. While restrictions on some activities, particularly outdoors, have been relaxed, Director Ferrer announced that any further loosening would be slow and cautious.

San Antonio Metro Health Director Dawn Emerick 

  • On May 12, Director Emerick announced a $70 million plan to initiate contact tracing, step up random health inspections of reopening businesses, and double the city's daily testing capacity.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza 

  • On May 19, Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza announced a new initiative to continue to provide remote learning to NYC students over the summer months to help compensate for interrupted schooling and prepare for an uncertain fall. It is estimated that nearly 67,000 students will meet the criteria necessary to continue learning over the summer.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto *

  • On May 19, Mayor Peduto announced that Pittsburgh had made plans to shut down Market Square and Walnut Street to traffic, and instead turn them into outdoor eating spaces for the numerous restaurants that line both areas.

If we can get outdoor seating established during this next month, we can save the restaurants in the city of Pittsburgh.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti *

  • On April 6, Mayor Garcetti announced that the city of LA secured enough tests and enough access to labs to open up testing to any resident in the city who wants one, rather than those who are in special high-risk categories or who are already showing symptoms.
  • On May 26, Mayor Garcetti announced that L.A. would convert Dodger Stadium into the city's largest drive-through testing facility, able to test up to 6,000 citizens per day.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot *

  • On March 25, Lightfoot warned Chicagoans that she would close the city's parks and waterfront if residents continued to flout the stay-at-home order, and, significantly, stated that first-time offenders would be charged $500, while repeat offenders would be arrested.
  • On April 7, Mayor Lightfoot announced the expansion of the city's coronavirus relief funds to all undocumented immigrants, who are already at higher risk of losing their jobs and who are unable to apply for unemployment.

“This order is more than just an official decree. It's a statement of our values as a city and as Americans. It means that in this crisis, we will leave no one behind, and no one will get left behind.”

  • On May 26, Mayor Lightfoot announced a $56 million effort to begin contact tracing throughout the city of Chicago, with 85 percent of that funding going towards community organizations experienced in serving lower-income populations. Community organizations, covering the whole city, will hire and manage contact tracers.


For the latest information on COVID19 response, please visit the CDC and your local government websites.

About CPI North America Roundups

CPI North America is providing you with a regular roundup of vital issues surrounding our three North America pillars of government: legitimacy, economic mobility, and city innovation. Visit our website for more roundups and our repository on coronavirus.

Legitimacy | North America | United States | Local Leadership | Roundup | Coronavirus | COVID19

Written by:

Elysa Neumann Director, Communications & Storytelling, North America
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