Mayor James Mueller’s remarks as prepared and delivered on April 9, 2020:
Thank you, Dr. Fox for the update. We’re encouraged that our sacrifices are paying off and helping to slow the spread of the virus in our community. The quicker turnaround time for tests is also good news because that means we have a better idea of where we are closer to real-time. On behalf of the community, I thank the health department for all their work to prepare us for the peak of this pandemic locally.
Last night, you may have seen or heard that our first responders stopped by Memorial Hospital to honor our healthcare workers. I am proud of our police officers, firefighters, doctors and nurses on the frontline keeping us all safe. They all deserve our community’s recognition for their contributions and sacrifices, and we must do everything as a community that we can to support them.
We need everyone to take responsibility and follow the distancing measures in place. Over the weekend, SBPD broke up a party where people were congregating and socializing irresponsibly. The Governor’s stay at home order is not a suggestion and should not be taken lightly. If you plan on hosting a party or pursuing other reckless behavior, cancel those plans now, or we will cancel them for you.
I want to thank each and every one of you who have taken the distancing measures seriously. While it’s important to acknowledge signs of success, we can’t become complacent about the risk this virus still poses in our community.
We’re still a few weeks away from the peak. And we need to do even better to slow the spread and enable us to begin reopening, at least parts of our city.
That brings me to a difficult topic to discuss—the religious holidays celebrated this month. In normal times, Passover, Easter and Ramadan offer great opportunities for meals and services with extended family and friends. This year we must find creative ways to celebrate these holy days. Physical gatherings of any kind put our entire community at risk and could roll back the progress we’ve made on mitigating the spread of the virus.
I commend the many faith leaders who’ve found a way to fulfill the important spiritual needs of our community remotely. Those who are considering holding in-person services need to reconsider and find a safe alternative. I know these sacrifices are real, but we need to double down on our mitigation efforts.
I continue to be impressed by the generosity of the community. This week, the United Way’s COVID-19 Response Fund exceeded $1 million in donations to help provide food, shelter, and healthcare to those most in need.
Earlier this week, Hair Crafters gave 1,000 masks to the City for use by our employees. The Knights of Columbus, in partnership with Eby’s, is donating lunch to all 11 fire stations for all shifts. Residents have dropped off gloves, masks, and homemade face coverings for our firefighters. And a number of local restaurants dropped off food for our police officers and firefighters as they face difficult times themselves.
I’m disappointed to share this news about one of my favorite weeks of the year – Best. Week. Ever, which was scheduled for the first week in June, will be postponed. This was a tough decision, but we’ll likely still be managing the spread of COVID-19 in some way. I look forward to the day when we can gather once again and enjoy the Best. Week. Ever. together.
I said it last week, and I’ll say it again. We’re still climbing the hill, and we cannot count on the cavalry to arrive and save us. Other communities are facing the same problems we are, so we need to find a way through this as a community.
If you do your part, stay home, wash your hands, and stay away from others, you’ll help save lives. Don’t be the person who infects others.
We’re all in this together, and we’ll get through this challenge together. Please keep doing your part. Stay at home, maintain physical distance from others, and continue the generosity to those who need help.