Non-pharmacological response plans for pandemic include not only social distancing, but often some combination of school closures, cancelation of mass gatherings and travel restrictions. These last three hold significant financial implications for the communities and society in general. Imagine if you can all shopping malls, concerts, theme parks, conferences and movie theaters being closed down in your area for months at a time. Not only would the economic impact of lost sales be overwhelming to local economies, but the loss of small and even medium sized businesses would lead to the loss of jobs and worse, the loss of employers.
However, not only will there be a severe economic impact, but an even more dire psychosocial impact. One example is the impact on childhood nutrition. 30.1 million American children depend upon school nutrition programs for one or two meals each day. Unfortunately, many of these children receive no other meaningful nutrition each week. The loss of these 5 to 10 meals per week places all these children at risk. The families who rely on school nutrition programs often lack the financial means and/or know how to provide meals for these children. Current plans at a national, regional, or state level do not account for this and similar issues. The first rule of disaster planning is that all disasters are local, therefore it is up to local emergency managers, local disaster planners and individual families to prepare to feed these children in the event of school closures.