Coronavirus COVID19
Coronavirus COVID19

Coronavirus Response Resources for Local Leaders

Local elected officials are distinctly positioned to protect the health and safety of residents and to provide reassurance in times of crisis. The National League of Cities developed this resource page and a Pandemic Response series to support cities, towns and villages during the COVID-19 outbreak and to take measures to reduce its spread. NLC will update this page as information becomes available.   

As municipalities are responding to the Coronavirus, they must:  

  • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! – Provide clear, accurate, reliable information to the public. Elected leaders can set a tone of transparency, compassion and reassurance, and bring in public health experts to provide broader context and deeper guidance. Local officials can assure the public that each person has a role to play to protect themselves, their families and their community. 

  • Coordinate, Coordinate, Coordinate! – Ensure efforts are underway across all city agencies to prepare and respond. Coordinate with county, state and federal government on emergency authority and response. Work with business and non-profit partners in the community to get employers, employees, residents and communities to follow everyday health practices to prevent spread, as well as to leverage public-private capacities for the wider community. 

  • Establish relationships and clarify roles with local health departments and healthcare facilities around pandemic flu plans and activation of emergency response. Identify specific people to communicate with, and the role of a Preparedness Coordinator or designee for emergency response.  

  • Clarify legal authority to declare emergency – Understand the Scope of Authority local executives have surrounding public health response plans and collaborate with the health department to implement the plan. Clarify authority if your city has both city and county health departments. When states declare an emergency, clarify potential release of funding and resources that may be indicated, including closing schools or prohibiting public gatherings. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Find information and guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) here: Latest Resources and Updates from WHO, including their Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation dashboard.

National League of Cities Resources

NLC is committed to providing local leaders with the necessary tools and resources to ensure cities, towns and villages are well equipped to navigate the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). NLC has launched a COVID-19 Pandemic Response series. In it, you will find federal policy updates, resources and best practices you can implement in your community. By working together, we can take steps to secure the health and well-being of cities, towns, and villages across America.


CitiesSpeak Blog Posts:

Communication with Federal Leaders:

News & Press Releases:

Congressional City Conference 2020:

Child Care Needs

Mass closures of businesses and organizations due to Coronavirus can affect early childcare providers’ survival as small businesses. Parents who cannot work remotely have acute need for childcare services. Critical personnel in this time of crisis include healthcare and public health workers; grocery store employees; police, fire and other emergency response workers and right now, they are working even more extended hours. These crucial workers require quality, reliable care for their children. Additionally, many workers who keep essential stores and retail establishments open are among the lowest paid and cannot afford to lose days of work due to lack of childcare.

Municipal leaders can support childcare providers and the workers who depend on them by:

  • Prioritizing childcare slots for first responders.
  • Supporting providers with resources to keep their employees and the children in their care safe.
  • Connecting childcare providers to small business and income supports.

More -- Blog: Childcare, Critical Personnel & Coronavirus 

Additional Resources

Preventing Family Financial Instability

Social distancing has caused businesses to close or curtail their services to slow the spread of COVID-19. Employees of non-essential services, such as restaurants and retail stores, in turn are losing their jobs or experiencing a drastic reduction in pay. These employees are already straining to make ends meet because they are more likely to earn hourly wages and lack benefits such as healthcare or paid sick leave.

Before this pandemic, 40% of Americans could not cover a $400 emergency. Pay cuts and job losses without a social safety net will hinder residents from taking the necessary precautions, including staying home when sick or even purchasing extra groceries. Meanwhile, bills continue to pile up. When an employer closes its doors, leaving employees without a paycheck, the financial and social burden falls disproportionately on single parent households and people of color, who are more likely to earn hourly wages.

City leaders can take steps to prevent further financial instability for families during this unprecedented time.

More -- Blog: Preventing COVID-19 Generated Family Financial Instability

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Resources

Find information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The most up-to-date information and guidance can be found via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Disease 2019 website. The Coronavirus Task Force holds frequent national briefings which can be viewed live.

How to Report COVID-19 Cases? CDC released information for state health departments on how to report COVID-19 cases to better track the impact of the outbreak and public health response.

What is the Latest Information for Individuals, Especially Those At-Risk and Older Individuals? CDC released a self-checker that helps users make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care. This system is not intended for diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19 or other diseases but can advise on next steps. CDC has updated their webpage that identifies the high risk populations including adults older than 65, residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities, individuals with high risk conditions (asthma, heart disease or immunocompromised individuals), and monitoring for people who are pregnant. CDC has also released additional information for older adults as well.  Additional guidance was released for local and state health departments, homelessness service systems, housing authorities, healthcare facilities and others on responding to COVID-19 among people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

Web Resources:

Up to Date Resources:

Infographics and Downloads:

Administration Resources

On March 13th, President Trump signed a National Emergency Declaration in response to COVID-19. The Emergency Declaration will allow HHS to provide emergency funding to state and local entities (up to $50 billion) and specifically will enable HHS to waive provisions of certain laws and regulations to provide increased flexibility to healthcare providers. Additional flexibilities will be able to be exercised around the use of telehealth, state licensing requirements for providers to practice in areas of greatest need, increasing the supply of providers, loosening restrictions on where hospitals can care for patients within a hospital, and flexibilities on the number of beds and lengths of stay for Critical Access Hospitals.

CMS Updates FAQs for Medicaid and CHIP: CMS released updated FAQs that address issues raised by states over the prior few days. The document includes answers to questions related to the flexibilities CMS is affording to states in managed care, benefits, financing, 1115 demonstrations, and leveraging “1135” waivers offered as part of the President’s declaration of a national emergency. States may submit questions to CMS through their state leads. The FAQs can be found here.


Partner Content and Resources

Big Seven

Corporate Partners

Health and Human Service Resources

Food Research and Action Center

Helping Families Access Telehealth, Remote Work and Online Education

  • The Federal Communications Commission has secured a voluntary commitment from a large number of internet service providers (ISPs) for the next 60 days. The “Keep Americans Connected Pledge” asks that companies not terminate service for residential or small business customers, waive any late fees incurred due to the economic effects of the virus, and open access to public Wi-Fi hotspots to “any American who needs them.” Cities should check if their local-area providers are on the list of pledged companies and remain in contact with them about these commitments and any additional ones they can make.
  • In addition to this pledge, AT&T has announced that it will temporarily lift data caps, and Comcast has increased the speed limit on its Internet Essentials program for low-income households and will waive connection fees for that program for two months for new subscribers.

Housing & Homelessness

School & Education

Federal Agency Guidance

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

Department of Homeland Security

Federal Emergency Management Agency

  • FEMA has simplified the Public Assistance application process for the COVID-19 national emergency declaration. Applicants for Public Assistance can now go online to complete a simplified form. They will be asked to explain work activities, answer basic questions, provide limited supporting documentation, and provide a cost estimate. FEMA will review the information with the recipient, follow up with limited requests for additional information if necessary, and award assistance. Recipients will have access to all projects in PA Grants Portal, consistent with the traditional PA process. Click here to learn more about the simplified application process or go to the PA Grants Portal to submit an application process.
  • Rumor Control
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Eligible Emergency Protective Measures
  • 3/24 Advisory Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Response

FDA FAQs on Food Safety

  • FDA provided additional resources to industry members and consumers on COVID-19 and food safety. The FAQs can be found here.

U.S. Department of Labor

Phase 1 of Vaccine Trial

  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health announced that a Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating an investigational vaccine designed to protect against COVID-19 has begun at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, funded by NIH. More information can be found here.

Additional State and Local Tools and Resources

Testing Swab Manufacturers

Copan Diagnostics
26055 Jefferson Avenue Murrieta, CA 92562

Becton, Dickinson and Company
1 Becton Drive Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417-1880
Phone: 201.847.6800

Thermo Fisher Scientific
168 Third Avenue | Waltham, MA 02451

Princeton BioMeditech Corporation
P.O. Box 7139, Princeton, New Jersey 08543-7139 U.S.A.
Internet E-mail:

American Public Transportation Association


Center for American Progress

Government Technology

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The Local Solutions Support Center

Mayors Innovation Project

The Municipal Research and Services Center

The National Association of County Health Officials