(Post 3 of 5 in the “Don’t Say Recovery” Series)

Clotting and scabbing are gross. That was the working title for this post, but logic and respect for readers intervened resulting in a more appropriate title. You can thank me later.

Clotting and scabbing are necessary. The second stage of the healing process is not comfortable. It feels inflamed, painful, and itchy. Reforming community economies after disaster strikes is no different. Regardless of their different lengths, the pandemic shutdowns impacted lives and livelihoods so repairing the damage requires more than simply reopening. The emotional welfare, mental health and financial well-being of our friends, family, and neighbors are all very much at stake.

Clotting and scabbing require attention and care. The healing process begins with empathy and understanding. Reforming local economies must involve a focus on individuals. To stop the bleeding, communities built a clear understanding of different data sets. In this step of the healing process that data must be used to reach the individuals who suffered most knowing that many of them are still suffering. Building a supply of these stories and their various connected points helps establish a more meaningful and often more nimble response. These stories provide another important, yet non-traditional “data” source.

Clotting and scabbing require help. Stitches, bandages, and antiseptic help fight germs and promote healing. Communities must list the decisions necessary for true healing. Residents need to feel safe relearning their communities. Visitors need to feel safe visiting. Residents need to feel safe with these visitors returning. The impacts extend so far beyond tourism, yet the thorough connectivity of these different parts presents a true opportunity to illustrate value and importance across community sectors. These connected values need to be curated as part of this healing process. The changes in sentiment and attitudes must be tracked every step of the way.

Once encouraging signs are consistently appearing, regeneration and growth will be possible.