Is Aspen ready for coronavirus?
Without being alarmist, our city leaders should review any contingency plans that are already on the shelf and update (or create) contingency plans for this new epidemic.
• Will public gatherings be restricted? What criteria will trier this or decision point? (Social distancing will be important but unpleasant and financially costly.)
• Are our critical services such as water and sewer treatment fully staffed, and do we have adequate cross-training of employees in the event that half of our city staff is taken ill at the same time?
• Do maintenance staff and police have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE)?
• Do public buildings have placards and adequate supplies for hand hygiene and non-mask respiratory etiquette?
• Does the city have several months’ supply of critical reagents, filters, lubricants, and parts to weather the supply chain disruptions that have already begun?
• How will our police balance public safety vs. individual rights with respect to virus containment, self-quarantine, or mandatory quarantine?
• Are we prepared for a reduction in tax income when local tourism is affected as severely as international tourism is currently being affected?
• Do we have systems for organizing volunteers to work together through the difficult times that may be coming?
Council members and city employees likely have their own written or mental lists for critical services and emergency response.
I urge city leaders to set an example for a resilient and rational response to this very real outbreak. We need not live in fear, but we mustn’t live in ignorance, either. There are many simple and powerful steps that our city leaders and individual residents can do. Time for action.