Some Pandemic Quick Fixes Might Have Staying Power

As counties continue to learn from the COVID pandemic, some creative solutions might be here to stay. 

At the 2021 MACo Summer Conference session, “Are Some Pandemic Quick Fixes Here to Stay? A Longer-Term Look at Short-Term Solutions,” attendees considered the benefits and challenges of a range of “quick fix” solutions enacted during the pandemic, namely telework and to-go goods and services.

The session was moderated by Delegate Christopher Adams of District 37B (Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, & Wicomico Counties). Deputy Executive Secretary of the Baltimore City Board of Liquor License Commissioners Nick Blendy, Carroll County Administrator Roberta Windham, and the Aspen Institute’s Amanda Newman served as panelists.

County Administrator Windham emphasized the importance of county governments remaining creative and flexible during the pandemic, noting that county services do not stop in times of emergencies. She highlighted the role of creative partnerships during such situations and offered Carroll County’s partnership with the county library system to provide critical services like therapy and resource sharing virtually to county residents as an example.

Blendy talked about how decisions during the pandemic, like allowing cocktails-to-go, are actually impactful means of helping keep small businesses alive. Moving forward, he encouraged counties to consider innovative policy solutions to future challenges.

“Maybe it’s time to rethink the ways that we’ve been doing things.” -Deputy Executive Secretary of the Baltimore City Board of Liquor License Commissioners Nick Blendy

Also during the session, the Aspen Institute’s Amanda Newman tackled the important question of the future of telework post-COVID-19. Newman used data gathered from surveys to demonstrate some of the challenges and benefits of working from home during the pandemic, which county governments might consider when determining future telework policies for county staff.

At the same time, as one panelist noted some county government functions — like paving roads — simply can not be achieved virtually.

The session was held on August 19, 2021, at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: