Communities are coming together and businesses are beginning to re-open in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic.  The Community Pandemic Promise is a tool, or ‘social contract’ that you can use to represent the mutual trust we all require, whether you are re-opening a business, returning to work, shopping, or attending sporting and entertainment events.  By making this Promise you are doing your part to reduce the spread of this highly contagious virus called COVID-19.

From January through March, we began planning for our upcoming event season.  In late March, we were hopeful that this ‘pandemic’ that was gaining traction in the news wasn’t going to impact our season very much.  As more information began coming through, it became very clear that this summer was going to be much different than we have ever experienced before.  Event after event began cancelling or postponing until next summer. 

By the end of March, many of our event friends, family, and colleagues were now out of work and home, wondering what we can do now?  Most of us love the challenge of solving on-event related problems with limited resources in real-time, so naturally, a group of us got together to see what we could do to support our communities when the time comes to get back out there safely.

Kaitlin Blackwood is a Master of Public Health Student who is doing a practicum with UBC’s Mass Gathering Medicine Interest Group, supervised by Drs. Adam Lund and Jane Buxton.  She was originally going to be working on a harm reduction project that was festival focused.  Given that all mass gatherings are temporarily banned, she agreed to pivot to what the current public health needs were and refocused her project to support the safe re-opening of the Canadian economy through a Public Health approach by co-developing the Community Pandemic Promise.

The Pandemic Promise is a concept based in the ‘social contract’ that communities can work together to build trust while emerging from COVID-19.  We have created four posters that can be freely downloaded. 

  1. The first poster is an overview of the Promise. 
  2. The second poster is designed with businesses, institutions, and organizations in mind.  It captures the Promises businesses must make to each of us in the community.  This poster also has strategy ideas to help them successfully implement these promises as well as resource links that will help them find current and trusted information. 
  3. The third poster is for individuals.  This captures the Promises that each of us will have to make for individual responsibility.  For example, we promise that we will maintain safe distances, wash our hands frequently and follow local advice regarding face coverings.  There are links we can rely on for self assessment tools in case we begin to feel unwell, information on travel restrictions, and more. 
  4. The last poster outlines the things that we must all accept… the uncertainty. We accept that re-opening the economy is important but it does not come without risk.  We  accept that there will be extra security measures in place while we wait for a vaccine and for herd immunity to be reached.  One of the most challenging things we will accept is that the information is always changing.  We will adapt and help each other out.

By working on this Promise, we are already planning for the return of mass gathering and mass participation events.  We are collecting as much information as we can, reviewing the literature and partnering with like-minded organizations to help them re-open until it is our turn.  Through these collaborations and information sharing sessions, we are imagining what safe events could look like, and identifying what may work in our type of environment and what needs further thought.