“It must continue to guide us. Dr. Horacio Arruda and his team, and all the directions of public health in all regions of Québec must continue, and even intensify communication at all levels, with the population, schools, companies,…
May 1, 2020 4: 00
Updated at 10h04
Déconfinement: “The true crisis management, it is now that it begins”
Exacerbation of worry for some, relief for others. With the déconfinement announced, the release of measures of distance is to be feared. For the government, the actual management of crisis, it is now that it begins, warn experts in communication.
As soon as announced, the measures of déconfinement have caused all kinds of reactions within the population, ranging from deep concern to relief, by way of the misunderstanding. For several, good weather helping, they have led to a certain laxity of the famous measures of health, has there been observed in the last few days.
“They have been so firm in the way of presenting the containment. They said: stay at home, they did fear the people, there has been fines… And then, all of a sudden, they say: we are going to déconfiner of different ways. It is sure that for the people, the message may not have clear air. We déconfine, but he must keep two meters distance. The primary children will go to school, but not secondary students. The shops on the street, but not the shops in the shopping centres… It can create a lot of confusion in the population,” said Mireille Lalancette, specialist in political communication at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and a researcher with the research Group in political communication at Université Laval.
“People may wonder what it has been doing all of this, because here, the message may seem contradictory. […] They may have the impression that it is pking,” adds the expert, who believes that the message of the government and of the public health must continue to be clear, ”
“Currently, I believe that what night it is: one day we déconfine for reasons of herd immunity, the other day we don déconfine more for these reasons […]. One day one firm of the regions, the other day it reopened. No, not mask, yes a mask in certain circumstances”, the shows Mireille Lalancette, who also notes that the message of caution hammered the past few days by the federal authorities may also have sown confusion in Quebec. “It is not everyone who understands that health and education are provincial jurisdictions”, she says.
“When we made an announcement, it must be the safest possible of the announcement, left to wait, to keep it for later, because if one says one thing one day then something else the other day, this is where the confusion sets in and we risk losing the trust of a population that is already anxious, tired, stressed, anxious, who has lost sub, who is struggling to telecommute with children, who wants to return to a normal life but who is to say that it is not able to see family, friends…” exposes Ms. Lalancette.
According to it, the message must be clear, concise, consistent and reassuring. “This is what will make the difference.” People, she says, must be able to understand the purpose of the decision, as they have been able to understand the containment.
Except that, as emphasized by Steve Flanagan, a spokesman for Hydro-Quebec during the ice storm, it is much more easy to manage the containment that the déconfinement.
“During the confinement, the message was relatively simple: stay at home, one wants to limit the spread of the virus and flatten the curve. There, and the challenge of communication is there, it is that there is no miracle recipe for the moment. The virus is there for a good long time, and failing to be able to make them disappear, we must learn to live with and adapt. The government, its challenge is to accompany us in this adaptation-there,” said Mr Flanagan.
From the moment we arrive in this new phase of the crisis, “it is certain that there are concerns” that need to be managed, ” he said.
“There are a lot of unknowns [around the virus], and this is not just in Quebec, it is everywhere on the planet. Everyone is watching, everyone tries to see the best practices of the other and apply them, then it may be that we take one day a direction, and that you can go back later. […] There is not a single direction that is clear across the planet, all of the directives that are taken in different countries may be arguing today. And I think that it is part of the exercise of the government to take decisions but to also have the humility to say: this path is not good,” says Steve Flanagan.
It is necessary, in addition to flattening the curve of the case of COVID-19, iron out the concerns, summed up there.
One thing is for sure, we have a government that is “continually in action”, and that, it is essential in crisis management. According to Mr Flanagan, it is always better to be in the action than in the inaction, even if you make mistakes along the way.
The other challenge for the government is to temper the passions of those who might be a little too relieved to get into this phase of déconfinement. “In the population, we may feel more safe, and with the nice weather, it is worn out, it is suspicious may be less of the virus. I believe that it is part of the adaptation that we all need to do in the coming weeks, the coming months,” observes Steve Flanagan.
According to him, the national director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, has a more important role than ever to play. Not only must it act as a good teacher with all the world, but it must also ensure him also his leadership, “inviting us to move forward or back, as needed.
“It must continue to guide us. Dr. Arruda and her team, and all the directions of public health in all regions of Québec must continue, and even intensify communication at all levels, with the population, schools, businesses… It is a work of communication, which is huge, but necessary. It is necessary to enhance the performance communication to another level”, said Mr Flanagan.
Strong, the need for reconciliation
Christophe Roux-Dufort, a specialist in crisis management, Department of management, Laval University, note also that the announcement of the measures déconfinement have had the effect of “remove the safety valve in the population, which has held for nearly two months in confinement, but that seems to be saying now, enough is enough.
“And I fear that a strategy of catching up for lost time and starts to take liberties with a lot of things then that we do not yet completely”, said Mr Roux-Dufort.
“It’s going to be the challenge now to the government. Already, they are trying to talk about it, they say: this is not because we déconfine that it gives carte blanche to the entire world. But the déconfinement, this is not the same dynamic as the containment, this is not as easy to master. It is more complicated because it is as if all of a sudden, we opened the lid of the pressure cooker”, image professor of the University Laval.
Humans beings are basically social, and their need for reconciliation is strong, ” he recalls. “Myself, I met friends at a distance in my street. They invited me to take a glass outside, and we stayed at a distance of two meters. Except that after an hour, there was more than two metres,” says Christophe Roux-Dufort, to illustrate the difficulty of resisting the approximation.
“Already, in normal times, when it comes to the beautiful time you are in a hurry to go outside. Then after nearly two months of confinement, it is even more of a hurry to go outside. The government is, in my opinion, before the real crisis management. I think the biggest challenges are now, in the management of the déconfinement,” he says.
Roux-Dufort explained that the crisis management, it is also the management of priorities. “In a maneuver of déconfinement, there are priorities that are dictated by the government and which does not necessarily correspond to the priorities that it may have individually or collectively. It may seem contradictory that we reopened the schools so that it does not yet allow for small gatherings, but the government has set a priority, the socialization of children”, he recalls.
“The prime minister has said this week something that appears to me very interesting: a gathering between friends, it can still wait. It sets priorities, it is his role. From the point of view of the logic of the management, it seems to me quite normal that one fixed bearing, and as one opens these levels as well,” adds the expert, while agreeing that “in reality, nature is fundamentally social that lives in us will be that we will actually, in my opinion, exceed these measures-there”.
In front of this crisis are unprecedented, the face of the unknown, the government itself is uncertain, and he needs to “take bets”. “And we know that paris will never be 100% winners, by definition,” recalls Christophe Roux-Dufort.
If the situation remains stable, the better. But if it evolves in the wrong direction, then the authorities will have to quickly put in place more restrictive measures before deciding to return to the containment, believes the professor.