Recovery, Renewal, Resilience

Lessons for Resilience

Consider strategies to recover the tourism industry and local hospitality businesses
Business regeneration and rejuvenation

TMB Issue 33 discussed examples of how Australia and Rwanda are working to recover tourism through the promotion of domestic tourism. In Ireland, the next phases of their "Business Continuity Scheme" include targeted recovery strategies for Tourism Transport businesses, local tourism and hospitality businesses, and attracting international tourism. Consider:

  • Partner with national/local tourism agencies (e.g. Failte Ireland/Tourism Ireland) to collaborate on the development and administration of tourism recovery schemes
  • Provide funding and grants to tourism transport operators such as car rental companies, chauffeur, limousine, local taxi firms and escorted tour providers, to support their future operations and business continuity
  • Set up a "Travel Trade Event" to bring international tourism partners, local governments and local tourism businesses together. Irish tourism businesses met virtually to sell "the best of Ireland" to 216 top international tourism buyers from across the world
  • Seek funding to develop and build permanent outdoor infrastructure to increase dining capacity locally, to support local hospitality business as they re-open
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Consider rural infrastructure development priorities for recovery and renewal
Implementing recovery

COVID-19 has presented Ireland with an opportunity to balance regional and rural development. The government has responded with an ambitious five year policy which addresses both the challenges facing rural areas following the pandemic and the transformational opportunities that the pandemic presents for rural economies and communities. This lesson offers an overview of the key priorities set out in the policy, examples of the measures that will be taken to achieve these priorities and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) linked to the measures:

Optimising digital connectivity:

  • Investment in the delivery of the 'National Broadband Plan' to accelerate the delivery of connectivity in rural areas (SDG 8; 9; 10)
  • Implement a 'National Remote Work Strategy' through the creation of 400 remote working hubs (e.g. providing financial support to local authorities to convert vacant buildings/utilize rural pubs as work spaces during the day) to support the retention of skilled people in rural areas (SDG 3; 8; 13)

Supporting employment and careers in rural areas:

  • Design and implement nine new 'Regional Enterprise Plans' to support and promote the development of enterprise and job growth (SDG 8)
  • Providing support and assistance for the diversification of rural economics into new markets and sectors by capitalising on high speed broadband and new technologies (SDG 8; 9)

Revitalising rural towns and villages:

  • Prioritise short-term recovery rural development programmes and strategies to support rural towns to recover from the impacts of the pandemic (SDG 9; 11)
  • Implement a collaborative 'Town Centre First' renewal initiative to put town centres at the core of decision making (e.g. provide and resource dedicated local authority staff to support town centre renewal) (SDG 11)
  • Engage with 'Approved Housing Bodies' who are responsible for housing for older people to develop and deliver accommodation in town centres that is more suitable for those with reduced mobility (SDG 11)

Enhancing participation, leadership and resilience in rural communities:

  • Design and deliver a range of recovery and renewal programmes to support communities, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and charities to build resilience and increase their positive impact in the aftermath of COVID-19 (SDG 3; 10; 11)
  • Implementation of a 'National Volunteering Strategy' to support community-based volunteers and voluntary organisations (e.g. by streamlining grant applications for volunteer groups) and establish a permanent 'Volunteer Reserve' in local communities who can be called upon and deployed by the community, voluntary organisations and local authorities during emergencies (SDG 11; 17)

Enhancing public services in rural areas:

  • Review and update Rural Housing Guidelines for planning authorities, to tackle rural housing in a broader rural development and settlement context (SDG 11)
  • Introduce a new 'Policing and Community Safety Bill' to redefine the functions of policing bodies to include community safety (SDG 16)

Supporting the sustainability of Agriculture, the Marine and Forestry:

  • Provide support and assistance to local authorities to expand the number of farmer's markets, farm shops and support the formation of 'community-owned markets' in all towns, promoting local farmers, growers and food producers
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Consider measures to protect and support Roma, Gypsy, Traveller and Boater communities during COVID-19
Vulnerable people

Factors such as underlying health conditions, confined and over-crowded living spaces, limited facilities (e.g. running water, adequate sanitation), stigma and discrimination mean that Roma, Gypsy, Traveller and Boater communities are particularly vulnerable to the risks and associated impacts of COVID-19. Virus infection and death rates of these communities are currently unknown in the UK meaning formal data collection is needed. People in these communities are also likely to not be registered with a GP, to work in precarious job roles or be self-employed, meaning there is possibility that these communities will fall through the net with regards to COVID-19 vaccine programmes and the business/financial support initiatives provided during the pandemic. Consider:

  • Partner with local and national organisations that work with Roma, Gypsy, Traveller and Boater communities to better understand their needs during the pandemic
  • Work closely with the owners and managers of all residential sites and waterways for these communities to ensure that they stay open and alternative accommodation is arranged for people who become unwell and are required to self-isolate
  • Provide additional temporary water, sanitation and waste disposal facilities to those communities who cannot access public facilities (due to closure of public infrastructure during lockdowns)
  • Open additional local authority caravan sites temporarily to prevent overcrowding at designated caravan sites as COVID-19 requires these communities to remain static (e.g. holiday campsites that are not in use and would have basic facilities such as running water already in place)
  • Establish a designated helpline in partnership with local health authorities (e.g. HSE Midlands Traveller Health Unit) to deal with COVID-19 queries
  • Introduce a temporary moratorium to prevent people from being evicted from unauthorised camp locations
  • Relax rules temporarily so those living on canal boats can moor in a safe place for an extended period of time
  • Establish a targeted education support programme for children in these communities who are at risk of digital exclusion during periods of school closure
  • Communicate with Roma, Gypsy, Traveller and Boater communities and the organisations that represent them to ensure that they are aware of and have access to social support mechanisms provided during the pandemic, e.g. Self-employment Income Support Scheme, vaccine programmes
  • Include people who are living in these communities in research and outreach programmes to ensure learning is gained from their experiences and the diversity of impacts of COVID-19 on their lives is taken into account when planning for recovery
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Consider how your organisation can prepare to address the financial concerns of communities and individuals
Personal finance

Many individuals and families have experienced negative economic impacts from COVID-19 as a result of business closures, job losses and reduced working hours. Globally, governments have introduced financial stimuli through small business loans and furlough schemes, in an effort to mitigate the consequences of financial losses caused by the pandemic. As many stimulus packages are scheduled to end in the coming months, business owners are concerned that they will be unable to continue to pay staff, and employees are concerned that they may be made redundant. Consider:

  • The need to quickly increase the capacity of local financial support and advice systems:
    • Partner with and commission community advice services, e.g. Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
    • Build capacity and train volunteers to increase the range of specialist and generalist welfare and debt advice that is available
    • Seek support from local businesses that can provide financial and other advice
  • Increase community and business awareness of how to access support services:
    • Run information campaigns targeted at groups that need support
    • Bring together sources of good advice from trusted partners into a single location/source to make information easy to find
    • Sign post and onward refer members of the community to services
  • Integrate debt and financial advice and budgeting support with forms of direct financial support
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Consider how to manage COVID-19 in prisons (amnesties and inmate volunteers)
Vulnerable people

Prisons are high risk environments as places of close physical proximity[1]. Persistent overcrowding[2], close living spaces, and staff moving in and out, make social distancing and the isolation and management of any contagion difficult to arrange[3]. National strategies to suppress COVID-19 should focus on reducing outbreaks within prisons, recognising that prison health is public health[4]. Coordinating evidence-based approaches to managing outbreaks of COVID-19 in prison settings can address the spread of the virus in potentially vulnerable people inside prisons and to communities where staff live[5].

In March 2020, WHO published interim guidance on how to deal with COVID-19 in prisons through a whole-of-society approach, with comprehensive guidance in the following key areas[6]:

  • Preparation - through collaborative working with health and justice sectors, local and national public health authorities, and civil protection agencies; risk assessment and continuous evaluation; action planning to mitigate risks; assessment of essential infectious control supplies such as PPE, environmental sanitation, hand hygiene and disinfection
  • Prevention - through implementation of public health guidelines, such as hand hygiene, social distancing and facemasks; monitoring of staff travelling into prisons from affected communities or who have a history of exposure; reviewing continuity and contingency plans to ensure critical functions can be delivered with reduced numbers of personnel
  • Training and Education - planned and targeted at healthcare and custodial staff, including basic disease knowledge, hand hygiene practice, respiratory etiquette, the effective use of PPE and environmental prevention measures such as cleaning and disinfection. WHO have developed several online resources and training that can support this[7]
  • Control - through robust prevention strategies; diagnostic strategies, including contact tracing, and interventions, including the environmental cleaning of health-care rooms or cells, where the management of a suspected case has taken place

A recent study identified some core challenges in managing infectious disease in prisons[8], such as:

  • Overcrowding and a lack of best practice on managing the early release of prisoners
  • Prisoners withholding symptoms for fear of stigma, leading to outbreaks
  • Limited capacity of staff and resources to facilitate isolation, quarantine, and contact tracing

Addressing overcrowding, including communicating complex policies, such as an amnesty

Governments and judiciaries globally are considering strategies to tackle overcrowding and reduce prison populations through early release and alternative incarceration for vulnerable detainees and low-risk offenders[9]. Although strongly supported by human rights groups[10] and recommended by the UN[11], COVID-19 amnesties in the Ukraine were however rejected by legislators, media, and the public. This highlights that the explanation and communication of complex policies are just as vital as their design[12]. When communicating amnesties, consider:

  • Work closely with civil society, particularly NGOs directly engaged with the public, to assess views and perceptions of amnesties, using this information to inform policy design and implementation
  • Establish a clear communication strategy to accompany all elements of the process of transitioning incarcerated persons back into society, with a tailored approach to different social and regional groups
  • Communicate informed and factual information through government and trusted civil society organisations, explaining the different elements of amnesties and their place in the larger reintegration framework to help the public feel more informed, secure and resilient

Inmate Volunteers

Irish Red Cross inmate volunteers are trained annually in Infection Control as part of the Community Based Health and First Aid Programme[13]. The activities of the inmate volunteers helped to contribute to zero positive cases amongst prisoners across the country for more than six months. Consider supporting a targeted inmate volunteer training programme to aid the management of infectious disease in prisons:

  • As part of preparation and contingency planning, train inmate volunteers and staff on infectious disease and contact tracing to support the education of prisoners and custodial staff, and efforts to control transmission
  • Train volunteers to support inmates who face mental health challenges/fears of stigma, e.g., distributing information and education packs, and supplementing support from psychologists, teachers, chaplains, and family visitation services, where these lack capacity
  • Inmate volunteers can support the establishment of prison communication strategies on COVID-19, e.g. volunteers can write newsletters that can be distributed throughout prisons each week to provide updated information and educational material regarding COVID-19. Newsletters can include services that are available for inmates, and instructions for exercises and other activities that inmates can do while isolating and in quarantine


[1] Redondo, S. et al. (2020) Corrections and Crime in Spain and Portugal during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Impact, Prevention and Lessons for the Future, Victims & Offenders, 15:7-8, 1156 – 1185, doi: 10.1080/15564886.2020. 1827108


[3] Pagano, M. (2020). COVID-19 Risk Management and Screening in the Penitentiary Facilities of the Salerno Province in Southern Italy. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(21), p.8033.




[7] Emerging respiratory viruses, including COVID-19: methods for detection, prevention, response and control [OpenWHO online course]. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020 (

[8] Beaudry, G., Zhong, S., Whiting, D., Javid, B., Frater, J. and Fazel, S., 2020. Managing outbreaks of highly contagious diseases in prisons: a systematic review. BMJ global health, 5(11), p.e003201

[9] Amnesty International (2020)





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Consider measures for COVID-safe pedestrian crossings to reduce spread of the virus
Urban and rural infrastructure

COVID-19 is thought to spread through shared surface contact which has led to additional cleaning of public transport, public spaces, and other infrastructure. Pedestrian crossings have been targeted for improvement to avoid people having to press buttons and prevent groups of pedestrians forming as they wait to cross. For example, crossings have been reprogrammed to prioritise pedestrians or have been upgraded to touch-less systems to offer a more hygienic alternative to the standard push button. These measures prevent people from potentially contaminating their hands and encourage safe pedestrian behaviour by ensuring that those cautious of waiting near others and touching push buttons don't cross dangerously. Consider:

  • Reprogramme traffic lights to prioritise pedestrians instead of road vehicles:
    • Change the traffic light default swap preference from vehicles to pedestrians - to reduce the time spent by groups of pedestrians at crossings
    • Minimise the impact of new measures on increased traffic congestion by using traffic detection technology
  • Install touchless technology to replace buttons:
    • Assess pedestrian crossings to determine the number of touchless push buttons required
    • Scope costs from potential suppliers, and assess affordability
    • Partner with other interested authorities to conduct a trial, choosing locations where regular site inspection and user behaviour observation can be carried out
    • Using results from the trial, identify and allocate funding to road and transport authorities to install touch-less buttons
    • Identify the utilisation of pedestrian crossings and develop an installation priority list
    • Include a feedback sound in touchless technology to ensure ease of use for people with vision impairment and other disabilities
    • Raise public awareness by fixing infographic signage to pedestrian crossing poles that provide functionality and instructions
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Consider evaluating and revising non-statutory guidance on emergency preparedness and management in light of lessons learned from COVID-19
Planning for recovery
Crisis planning

COVID-19 has shed new light on the way in which countries respond to, and recover from emergencies. This includes COVID-19 specific advice and broader lessons about emergency preparedness and management. For example, previous guidance on volunteer management has traditionally assumed a point of convergence at a disaster site, while this still holds true for many emergencies e.g. floods, lessons from COVID-19 demonstrate that volunteer management may also be dispersed, large-scale and without face-to-face contact. Consider how lessons from COVID-19 may help to revise emergency plans:

  • Conduct a 'stock take' of current emergency guidance, and consider what may be missing or no longer fit for purpose
  • Implement debriefs, peer reviews and impact assessments, drawing on expertise from local government and emergency practitioners, to evaluate how well current guidance worked and where it needs revising
  • Consider that emergency planning must remain relevant to specific types of emergencies, but that broader lessons from COVID-19 can help strengthen guidance e.g. issues of inclusion such as gender, ethnicity, sexuality; health and socio-economic disparities and vulnerabilities; volunteering capacity; supply chain stability; green agenda; and partnerships arrangements
  • Draw on resources beyond government guidance from global networks e.g. Resilient Cities Network's revised toolkit which builds recovery from COVID-19 into a wider resilience agenda for a safe and equitable world, and resources from International Organization for Standardization (ISO) which is developing new recovery standards in light of COVID-19 lessons (ISO 22393)
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