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How Rubicon’s Smart City Partners are Leading During the Coronavirus Crisis

Times of crisis reveal character more than they build character, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the leadership that we are seeing from so many of our RUBICONSmartCity™ partners.

From the moment that this public health crisis started to unfold in our communities—to now, as we all manage to a new normal—I have been inspired by the consistency and professionalism with which our partners in city governments across the United States have risen to the challenge.

The COVID-19 public health emergency continues to unfold across much of the world. Given the ease with which the novel coronavirus can spread between people, cities are on the frontlines when it comes to the grave task of keeping this virus at bay.

Rubicon® is working with some of the most innovative cities in the country as they endeavor to keep their citizens safe during COVID-19. We are proud of this work, and we are proud of these city partners.

Sanitation workers—the garbage men and women who pick up our waste and recycling—are some of the many unsung heroes in this novel coronavirus crisis, as are the city governments across the country that employ them. While all cities have to abide by the rules being laid down from state governments and the White House, many cities are going above and beyond to keep their residents and front-line workers safe.

Thank You, Smart City Partners

While it’s impossible to highlight all of the great work that so many of our RUBICONSmartCity partners are doing across the country in the fight against COVID-19, I want to take the time to focus on six cities in particular that are demonstrating courage in the face of adversity:

West Memphis, Arkansas

The City of West Memphis, Arkansas, has in recent weeks been described as “part of the coronavirus solution,” while Otis Sanford of the Daily Memphian noted that West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon “deserves a long-distance pat on the back.”

This is due to the City’s COVID-19 Community Relief Program, which was launched in March and focuses on supporting children and families, hourly wage earners, businesses, health care workers, older adults, people living with disabilities, first responders, and others feeling the effects of the outbreak.

Montgomery, Alabama

The City of Montgomery, Alabama, has launched two task forces to address the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on the city. Referring to the task forces, Mayor Steven Reed noted that “This climate of economic uncertainty and increased hardships for families in our region calls for meaningful and immediate action. As we continue in the recovery process and aid those affected throughout our community, these committees will help assess the needs of Montgomery and chart an effective path forward for the residents and businesses who made this region what it is prior [to] the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Alongside the task forces, Mayor Reed made a special point to join the City’s Sanitation team at their morning meeting recently to thank them for being vital to the City in this dangerous and difficult time.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

The City of Santa Fe, New Mexico, was ahead of much of the country in its efforts to keep citizens safe. When the state put its stay-at-home order in place, only nine other states had implemented similar measures, and the state as a whole had only 100 reported cases and no deaths at that point.

That did not stop the state from getting ahead of the curve. The City of Santa Fe soon went further, with Mayor Alan Webber announcing an eviction freeze. Simply put, if you live in Santa Fe and you lose your job because of the coronavirus, you won’t get evicted and your water won’t get shut off.

Orlando, Florida

The City of Orlando, Florida, announced early in the COVID-19 crisis that it would still be picking up waste and recycling as scheduled, a move designed to assure residents of their continued operations.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer also made a point of “appreciation for the helpers and the heroes who continue to serve our city,” by encouraging residents on social media to celebrate all of those who are keeping the city safe and going.

Norfolk, Virginia

The City of Norfolk, Virginia, has been in the news a lot in recent weeks, and not just because USNS Comfort, which last week docked at Pier 90 in New York City, set sail from the City.

Describing itself as “a city built for your business,” Norfolk have been publicizing their Economic Development staff’s continued work (from home) to help Norfolk businesses impacted by COVID-19, while laying down citizen safety measures and encouraging all residents to vote by mail in the upcoming election to avoid exposure to the virus.

Spokane, Washington

The City of Spokane, Washington, was one of the first cities in the United States to become an epicenter for the novel coronavirus. Despite this, the City is coming out of this crisis stronger than ever. This is in part due to their Emergency Coordination Center, which is nicknamed the “brain” of the City’s COVID-19 response.

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward has been consistent in her resolve in the face of the crisis, ensuring that safety measures were taken early to contain and reduce the spread of the virus, while at the same time discussing how residents of the city can help to support local businesses through this time.


Michael Allegretti is Chief Strategy Officer at Rubicon. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.

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