The Effects of COVID-19 on Local Government in 2021

Storefront sign that reads "Caution Maintain Social Distancing At Least 6ft. Distance From Others."

There is no doubt that the coronavirus has significantly impacted state and local government. Since the first stay-at-home order in March of 2020, governments have had to change the way that they operate. In the year 2020, technology was more essential than ever in the way that people live and work. And although the official authorization of the first COVID 19 vaccine gives us hope for life in 2021, it’s likely that the impact of this virus will last. 

According to the CDC, supplies for the coronavirus vaccine are currently very limited. As a result, they recommend that healthcare professionals and high-risk individuals get vaccinated first.  This means that, at first, only a small amount of people will have the COVID-19 vaccine. In turn, this means that mask-wearing and social-distancing will continue to be necessary as we move into 2021. 

When COVID-19 first began, many organizations like businesses and school were unprepared for the sudden move online. It was no different for local governments. At the time this was meant to be a temporary solution, but conducting what would normally be in-person activates online has become more permanent than any of us thought. So, the question is, what can we expect from our state and local government in 2021? 

Digital Transformation: 

Local governments have already been working to move their business into the digital sphere. This work is likely to continue in 2021 with better use of technology to create a digital transformation. Some things to expect are:  

  • Use of communication technology to make meetings more available to staff and residents online. 
  • Improved websites and content management systems to improve staff efficiency and to effectively provide the public with important information.  
  • Implementation of intranet portals and cloud software which will enable staff to work from home more efficiently 

Budget Restrictions: 

The economic impact of the coronavirus is undeniable. Sadly, many businesses closed, and people were either furloughed or fired from their jobs due to budget cuts. Although CARES Act funding helped to lessen some of the immediate economic effect of the pandemic, a decline in sales and other taxes has reduced state and local revenues. Some experts project that state and local revenues will decline by $167 billion in 2021. Of course, this will vary from state to state, but the effects will surly still be felt.  

As a result of this economic downturn, some likely changes that we will see in local government in 2021 include: 

  • Vacant positions 
  • Reduced staffing 
  • Postponement of improvement projects 
  • Creative use of full-service technology to serve municipal staff and residents 

The staff at GovUnity Websites is able to help government organizations create full-service websites at an affordable price. Our websites allow government organizations to post meeting minutes or link videos to meetings directly to the website. We can also create online-fillable forms to help limit the need for in-person business.  

The team at GovUnity will work with you to implement website features to help your staff when working remotely and to improve resident communication. We provide quality website design, development, and hosting services, along with CMS implementation at an affordable price. Contact us today for more information.