Nov5ThuResponding to Crises Raised During COVID-19 November 5, 2020
Covid is not going away. Obviously.
As the pandemic drags on and impacts our thinking, planning and actions, there’s a sense of resignation and, yes, even complacency setting in in some quarters.
Part of that is the Second World War thinking of “keep calm and carry on.” Which is commendable. But it can also lead to complacency and a lack of understanding of the modern mindset which is driven in part by various social media platforms.
What that means is that the public is both more aware and more vocal than ever about what it perceives as carelessness or wrongdoing by organizations in the public eye.
A case in point is the caution raised in the US recently about the implications of the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy. As part of that, all previous agreements are null and void, which means that if there is a lawsuit because of abuse allegations against the Scouts and the church or organization hosting their meetings, the Scouts’ insurance policy will no longer be in effect. And THAT means the church or organization will not be protected by the Scouts policies and agreements. It’s a potential minefield for churches in the US that had arrangements with the Boy Scouts.
Canadian churches and non-profit organizations are not exempt from such potential minefields.
As people get more litigious over Covid, such organizations both in Canada and the US are in a similar firing line.
Suppose you hold a wedding or a funeral at your church and one (or more) of the participants tests positive for Covid 19 or, worse, die as a result. The fact that you followed public health guidelines on attendance and distancing may not be enough to protect you. Suppose an event is held on your premises and there’s an outbreak?
Already, there are a number of nursing homes in Ontario fighting lawsuits—one for over $25 million! A wedding north of Toronto is reported to have been a super-spreader event with over 40 people testing positive after the event.
Yes, you have the legal and insurance matters under control, hopefully.
But think back to what I said about the public and social media.
How will the public view your involvement? Will they be sympathetic to your predicament or will they see you as perhaps somehow complicit, or at best uncaring or complacent?
The answers depend upon how you respond to both the complainants AND to the general public. You will be contacted by the media and asked to comment on the allegations, the lawsuit, the impact it has had on your current operations, what actions have you taken to protect the public, and so on.
Crisis events can blindside you. Before you can even absorb the initial hit, the media are wanting comment and social media platforms from Instagram to Facebook to Twitter and others are expressing an opinion and influencing public response.
Believe it or not, you can prepare for such an assault. But you must take steps now, while everything is calm before the storm.
From crisis planning to crisis management we have a track record of helping organizations through this dilemma. The senior management at McMaster University said, after one of our seminars, “you not only helped us, you empowered us!”
Barrie Doyle is available to help you, if you would like Barrie's assistance please contact Plan to Protect or check out Barrie on his website www.notifwhencrisis.ca
There is no better time to begin the Crisis Response and Management Course that has been produced in partnership with Barrie. Barrie is the lead trainer in that course. The course is available through Plan to Protect. CLICK HERE