Day: June 30, 2020

How small towns are responding to the global pandemic

<span class="caption">Patrons eat outside at a small cafe in West Reading, Pennsylvania, as the community begins to reopen.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/bambi-good-and-her-daughter-alaina-of-reinholds-talk-with-news-photo/1249265204" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images">Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images</a></span>
Patrons eat outside at a small cafe in West Reading, Pennsylvania, as the community begins to reopen. Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Before the global pandemic hit, small towns across America were dealing with struggling economies, aging roads and bridges, and declining populations.

The coronavirus added new challenges, like additional demand for limited hospital beds for an aging population, many of whom have chronic health conditions.

Fortunately, as I’ve seen in my work at the Small Town Center at Mississippi State University, small towns have the advantage of being more nimble and responsive to crisis than cities, largely because they have fewer regulations and more opportunities to be creative about problem-solving.

The pandemic has increased local leaders’ attention to their residents’ health – not just in terms of doctors and hospitals but also identifying new ways to help people get fitter, spend more time outdoors,

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