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This page provides resources for municipal planners and staff related to COVID-19 and responding to how it is impacting their communities and businesses.

COVID-19 Municipal Planning Strategies Toolkit

Page Last Updated March 2021

With the Commonwealth’s plan to allow a gradual reopening of the Massachusetts economy, the Cape Cod Commission seeks to support local businesses and our communities as they face new challenges opening and operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Doing so will require businesses to modify their operations and develop new business plans. While many local businesses have already shown impressive creativity and ingenuity as they’ve adapted their business models to operate during this time, municipalities play a key role in helping them succeed, especially in this new environment.

COVID-19 Municipal Planning Strategies Toolkit Cover

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This COVID-19 Municipal Planning Strategies Toolkit provides information for Cape Cod towns on how they can support the needs of local businesses as they operate during this period of social distancing requirements. It contains strategies to accommodate the new operational standards and includes examples from other municipalities that have expanded opportunities for businesses to offer their goods and services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several strategies also include sample checklists to help towns develop administrative review procedures. These are intended as examples of potential items to include and will vary depending on town operations and needs.  

Best practice for amending existing bylaws, ordinances and regulations is that they should only be amended consistent with state and local statutory requirements for adoption (or as individual statutes may prescribe for amendments). Town counsel should be consulted in each instance.

Click through the strategies using the sidebar on the right or download the full toolkit.

Other COVID-related Resources for Municipal Planners

Below are other resources municipal planners and staff may find helpful in responding to the pandemic and its impacts. This list is updated regularly.

  • Municipalities may apply for the Economic Development Administration's CARES Act Funding Program grants for planning and technical assistance, capitalization and recapitalization of revolving loan funds (RLFs) to provide access to capital for businesses, construction of infrastructure and other economic development projects, and innovation grants.
  • The Cape Cod COVID-19 Response Task Force has a compilation of resources for towns. More information
  • The Massachusetts Housing Partnership has information regarding affordable housing during the pandemic, including resources for setting up an emergency rental assistance program and other local financing options. More information
  • The Massachusetts Vacant Storefronts Program (MVSP) aims to assist Massachusetts municipalities in revitalizing downtowns and commercials areas for a defined downtown or commercial area that has been designated as a Certified Vacant Storefront District. 
  • The National Association of City Transportation Officials has developed the Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery guide, which includes detailed information about strategies municipalities might consider to provide safe access and spaces through street redesign.
  • Smart Growth America has developed a map that tracks community responses related to Complete Streets.
  • National League of Cities is compiling a database of municipal actions/responses to COVID-19.
  • The Metropolitan Area Planning Council has developed a white paper on how municipalities may help small businesses as they reopen.
  • The International Economic Development Council maintains Restore Your Economy, a resource for information on COVID-19 and its economic impacts with State and Municipal Reopening Resources and other Resources and Research.
  • What Works Cities has posted a COVID-19 Local Government Response and Resource Bank.
  • The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has issued six Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) supported by the American Rescue Plan:

    • The Build Back Better Regional Challenge ($1 billion nationwide) will assist 20-30 regions countrywide in accelerating their COVID-19 economic recovery through investments in regional industry clusters.
    • The Good Jobs Challenge ($500 million) aims to get Americans back to work through investments in collaborative skills training systems and programs.
    • The Economic Adjustment Assistance program ($500 million), the most flexible program, aims to help communities plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through investments in construction or non-construction projects.
    • The Indigenous Communities Program ($100 million) aims to support Tribal Governments and Indigenous communities and assist in the development and execution of economic development projects advancing COVID1-9 recovery.
    • The Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program ($750 million) aims to accelerate the recovery of communities reliant on travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation through both State Tourism Grants and Competitive Grants.
    • The Statewide Planning, Research & Networks program will invest in projects advancing equity and local economies' resilience through State Planning Grants ($59 million) and Research and Networks Grants ($31 million).
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