The National Governors Association, in collaboration with the American Bar Association, launched a webinar series on Equity and Policy Preparedness during Public Health Emergencies. Participants in all four webinars will consider lessons learned from past public health emergencies to inform their implementation of best practices for the future.
The first webinar will focus on the importance of parity in mitigation measures during public health emergencies, especially when it comes to enforcement. Mitigation measures can save lives, especially within groups at higher risk of adverse outcomes or populations that have been marginalized. At the same time, it may be especially challenging for certain populations to abide by these measures, and current data suggest that during COVID-19, these communities are being disproportionately impacted by enforcement measures. Mitigation enforcement measures may include fines for failing to wear masks or abide by stay-at-home orders, opening non-essential businesses during closures, and more. States can take steps to ensure that encouragement (verses enforcement) is the first line of defense and that groups at higher risk of adverse outcomes or populations that have been marginalized are set up to succeed in the use of mitigation measures. At the same time, when enforcement is appropriate, it must be done equally across all communities in a jurisdiction. This webinar will explore the legal, policy, and ethical considerations of the encouragement and enforcement of such mitigation measures in the context of an ongoing public health emergency.
Senior Policy Analyst
Public Safety & Legal Counsel
Center for Best Practices
Stephan K. Bayens
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Professor of Law and Health Sciences and Faculty Director
Health in Justice Action Lab
Northeastern University School of Law
Maya Hazarika Watts
Senior Attorney, ChangeLab Solutions