Recovery Playbook

Our entire world has been impacted by the COVID-19 virus, including cities, businesses and individuals. Cities that take a timely, proactive and coordinated approach to assessing the economic impacts will fare better than those that are complacent or disorganized. There is no tried and true formula for cities to follow, there is no silver bullet, and there is no single right way to move forward. There is only the need to push forward and find the best path that works for YOUR city. This Playbook will assist you in getting organized and preparing a strategy to begin recovering from the overwhelmingly negative economic impacts evolving from this situation.

Phases of Recovery Overview


The current environment is putting most cities in crisis or survival mode. Keeping residents safe and upholding law and order are higher priorities than figuring out economic recovery issues. This is the time however, to establish the team that will lead the recovery, and consider an organizational structure that has clear lines of communication and directives.


Once we are past the initial phase of this pandemic, we will move into recovery mode where we will begin to see the initial impacts, and the scope of losses will be realized. We will find out which stores and businesses will reopen, and which ones can’t or won’t. Your city will need to evaluate which businesses are delaying opening due to some obstacle versus which ones will never reopen. These assessments need to be made during the recovery mode of this crisis so the city can formulate a growth mode strategy.


Although it might seem impossible at times, your city will have the opportunity to reenter a phase of growth leading towards prosperity. In this phase, the collateral damage will become clearer and the city will face decisions on how best to deal with the toll of the economic devastation. In some parts of the country, the economic life cycle will vary depending on the source of revenue that a city depends on. Property tax driven cities for example, may not feel the full brunt until a year or two in the future, hence the need to proactively stave off that negative impact as much as possible.


There are three main steps:

  1. Set up your core economic recovery team and organizational structure
  2. Assess the biggest threats and identify future growth opportunities
  3. Formulate strategies for your unique city and situation
Download Our Recovery Playbook