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Communities on the Frontline: Week of June 8

Around the world, communities are using innovative approaches to support coronavirus (COVID-19) response efforts. Each week, FEMA is highlighting these extraordinary efforts so that other others can learn from and expand on them. This week focuses on ways organizations are helping their communities stay safe.

Safe Practices During Protests

To encourage safe practices during protests, some health departments and experts have posted health recommendations on social media, such as wearing a face covering and using eye protection, using hand sanitizer, maintaining adequate social distancing from others and using signs or noisemakers instead of yelling to reduce the spread of droplets.

Therapeutic Robotic Pets

In an effort to combat social isolation due to strict visitation rules at nursing homes, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs has provided isolating seniors with Alzheimer's and dementia with therapeutic robotic pets. Research has shown robotic pets to have similar positive effects as traditional pet therapy for seniors.

Reopening Courts

Virtual “Picnic” Courts

Due to restrictions on the number of people who can enter public buildings, some courthouses in Prattville, Alabama have created a "picnic” court for traffic violations and child support. Respondents are able to handle matters virtually under a canopy located on the courthouse lawn.

Physical Barriers

The common pleas courts in Franklin County, Ohio is working to keep jurors, prosecutors, attorneys judge, bailiff, and witnesses safe by installing plexiglass barriers.  Additionally, only 10 observers will be allowed inside the courtroom at a time and they’ve reduced the need for multiple stops throughout the courthouse by installing video terminals so some matters can be completed from a single location.

These stories are part of the FEMA Best Practice initiative, which focuses on compiling the best practices and lessons learned from communities fighting COVID-19.  To see more stories like this, visit the Best Practices page. For more information on how to help during COVID-19, visit FEMA’s website for information on donations and volunteering.