Challenges and Opportunities of Reopening Efforts

Man waving American flagIn addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brookings Institution published a new report, Reopening America and the World, providing an assessment of current efforts in restarting the economy and social institutions. As COVID-19 continues to shutter local businesses and communities, Brookings aims to contribute to the reopening debate by engaging in the most pressing topics of public health, economic revival, and social equality.

Significantly, the report emphasizes numerous points of concern, as well as some examples of success that became apparent in the midst of the global response to COVID-19. In particular, the implementation of heightened hygiene considerations and social distancing measures appear to be at the core of successful reduction of viral transmission. Furthermore, the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as enhanced healthcare capacity for testing and treatment remain essential in all reopening efforts during the pandemic.

The report provides a number of key takeaways, including the following:

  • Reopening efforts provide an opportunity to invest in creating long-term societal support;
  • Solutions associated with recovery processes have the potential to address the issues of societal equity and equality;
  • Companies must assess not only safety procedures when reopening, but also the implementation of compassionate policies, including workers’ access to healthcare and educational opportunities;
  • Businesses have a unique opportunity to consider renewable energy initiatives as a means of supporting the environment;
  • Artificial intelligence and emerging technologies can provide creative solutions to further innovation in both combatting COVID-19, as well as other global challenges; and
  • Companies must reevaluate their capacities for “telework” and “telecommuting” to provide continuous means for flexible work;

Ultimately, global leadership must acknowledge the human dimensions of this crisis and respond accordingly. As psychological trauma continues to permeate all levels of society, leaders can create “the environment of social cohesion” and endorse the development of science to combat the virus.

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