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September 21 and 22
2 days, 2 disciplines, 2 ways to participate – defining our professional roles and uniting to build more equitable, accessible and inspired communities.
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020, advising all countries to implement a number of restrictions (e.g., social distancing) to curb the spread of the virus. Governments have instituted measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, including population-level containment strategies (e.g., quarantine, isolation, school and business closures). In Ontario, a health emergency was declared on January 12, 2021 and a stay-at-home order were issued province wide.
While research has examined the impacts of COVID on individuals, economics, and organizations, these have largely been focused on urban concerns. It is critical that rural communities and their unique challenges are included in policy development and response plans. This session presents results from over 3,500 quantitative surveys that were collected from residents across Huron and Perth Counties. In particular, results illustrate that not only has social behaviour changed, including local shopping habits, but responses also highlight that respondents do not expect their behaviour to go back to pre-COVID habits. Rural business owners must be included in economic response plans to ensure that they are able to pivot and respond to the new realities. It is critical that planners and planning departments collaborate with economic development and rural business owners to ensure rural communities and their downtowns remain prosperous and resilient.