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This page provides resources for municipal planners and staff related to COVID-19 and responding to how it is impacting their communities and businesses.

COVID-19 Municipal Planning Strategies Toolkit

Page Last Updated March 2021

With the Commonwealth’s plan to allow a gradual reopening of the Massachusetts economy, the Cape Cod Commission seeks to support local businesses and our communities as they face new challenges opening and operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Doing so will require businesses to modify their operations and develop new business plans. While many local businesses have already shown impressive creativity and ingenuity as they’ve adapted their business models to operate during this time, municipalities play a key role in helping them succeed, especially in this new environment.

COVID-19 Municipal Planning Strategies Toolkit Cover

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This COVID-19 Municipal Planning Strategies Toolkit provides information for Cape Cod towns on how they can support the needs of local businesses as they operate during this period of social distancing requirements. It contains strategies to accommodate the new operational standards and includes examples from other municipalities that have expanded opportunities for businesses to offer their goods and services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several strategies also include sample checklists to help towns develop administrative review procedures. These are intended as examples of potential items to include and will vary depending on town operations and needs.  

Best practice for amending existing bylaws, ordinances and regulations is that they should only be amended consistent with state and local statutory requirements for adoption (or as individual statutes may prescribe for amendments). Town counsel should be consulted in each instance.

Click through the strategies using the sidebar on the right or download the full toolkit.

Other COVID-related Resources for Municipal Planners

Below are other resources municipal planners and staff may find helpful in responding to the pandemic and its impacts. This list is updated regularly.

  • The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is now extending the Shared Streets and Spaces program to help municipalities address the particular challenges of winter amid the ongoing public health crisis. Shared Winter Streets and Spaces will provide cities and towns with grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $500,000 to improve plazas, sidewalks, curbs, streets, parking areas, and other public spaces in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce.
  • Municipalities may apply for the Economic Development Administration's CARES Act Funding Program grants for planning and technical assistance, capitalization and recapitalization of revolving loan funds (RLFs) to provide access to capital for businesses, construction of infrastructure and other economic development projects, and innovation grants.
  • The Massachusetts Housing Partnership has information regarding affordable housing during the pandemic, including resources for setting up an emergency rental assistance program and other local financing options. More information
  • The National Association of City Transportation Officials has developed the Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery guide, which includes detailed information about strategies municipalities might consider to provide safe access and spaces through street redesign.
  • Smart Growth America has developed a map that tracks community responses related to Complete Streets.
  • National League of Cities is compiling a database of municipal actions/responses to COVID-19.
  • The Metropolitan Area Planning Council has developed a white paper on how municipalities may help small businesses as they reopen.
  • The International Economic Development Council maintains Restore Your Economy, a resource for information on COVID-19 and its economic impacts with State and Municipal Reopening Resources and other Resources and Research.
  • What Works Cities has posted a COVID-19 Local Government Response and Resource Bank.


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