[September 1, 2020]
Now, two months after we added this new subsection, we see that the rush toward quickly reopening businesses, institutions, and organizations, was ill-advised. We’re now in an unfortunate pattern of rules-relaxations followed by predictable and dangerous surges in the COVID-19 pandemic requiring retrenchments – then followed again by slower attempts at reopenings.
There are compilations, summaries, and charts of up-to-date reopenings and rules for all U.S. jurisdictions (see References and Resources); see also our STATE OF CALIFORNIA page.
[June 26, 2020]
“The unthinkable happened. And yet, through it all, our sector has continued to ‘do good.’ In some respects, our sector never closed.”
That’s how the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits opens its excellent, 60-page, reference guide to the challenge of moving from the initial – highly traumatic and disruptive – shelter-in-place phase of the COVID-19 pandemic toward small bits and pieces of “normalcy.”
At the outset of the pandemic, nonprofits were advised to quickly consider the steps needed “to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and – as much as possible – plan for the near future and their ultimate survivability. “
There has been intense and growing pressure – (counter to sound advice from epidemiologists and public health experts) – to “open up” the economy as quickly as possible. Even early-lockdown states like California are now moving through stages of reopenings at a dizzying speed. So, the crisis-planning strategy of each nonprofit organization must evolve once again: more quickly than expected or perhaps advisable.
“Reopening will be jurisdiction-specific, subject to compliance with all state and local directives as well as any industry-specific requirements.” For the nonprofit sector more particularly, there are (or soon will be) distinct rules and guidelines for various categories like churches, museums and other arts organizations, and educational institutions.
“As an overarching consideration, organizational leaders owe a fiduciary duty of due care regarding its activities. In other words, they should be vigilantly attentive to COVID-19-related attendance and participation matters, as they would be for any other safety-related issue that could threaten health and safety of individuals.” Under this duty of care, directors are generally “presumed to make decisions on an informed basis and in good faith” so long as they have acted as an (objectively) reasonable person would act under similar facts and circumstances.
This new subsection of our website’s “Crisis Management” section has been added to collect and present information and resources on the challenges facing nonprofits around the nation as they navigate this new phase of the pandemic.