Town of Nantucket: Responding to the pandemic

The Nantucket economy is heavily dependent on tourism – by May 2020, hotels and inns closed for all but essential workers and short-term rentals were not permitted. As with much of the country, restaurants were closed and gatherings of more than 10 individuals discouraged. The unknown future for businesses who depend on tours, charters, and long-planned weddings, vacations, and events cancelling, was causing increasing concern about economic long-term viability.

The Town formed an Economic Recovery Task Force. Their first task was to conduct community roundtable meetings with various sectors of the local economy.

The Town reached out to The Novak Consulting Group (a part of Raftelis) to determine the best way to engage with local businesses. Eight “roundtables” were convened using Zoom, with more than 230 people participating in discussions to share their ideas for how the Town could support various sectors of the Nantucket economy.


The Zoom platform allowed for the efficient use of breakout groups where meaningful discussions were facilitated on specific topics. A combination of large group discussions, and breakout groups followed by report outs allowed each person to share their piece in this series of interactive one-hour meetings.

A Town resident who was a former Marketing VP for a major beauty brand shared this comment on the virtual meeting platforms “…I have attended more than my share of facilitated brain storming: the ones you have conducted this week are the very best. Both in organization, ability to elicit good comments/ideas and speed of the visual facilitators recap.”

The results of the sector meetings were funneled to the Economic Recovery Task Force to develop specific, actionable recommendations. Twenty-six recommendations for Town action are in various stages of implementation.

To learn more, see how we helped the Town of Jackson and a Texas utility with their public engagement, view our insight on re-imaging engagement, or explore how Raftelis can help you with public engagement.