Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I would like to express my gratitude to the residents and businesses of Richmond Hill for taking the threat of COVID-19 seriously. This is an incredibly difficult time for all of us, but through it all, I am incredibly proud of how our Richmond Hill community has come together. So many friends and neighbors have stepped up with courage to help mitigate this pandemic and its effects on this community. As we transition to the new normal that we’ve been longing for, I would like to share the following recommendations from Dr. Lawton Davis from the Department of Public Health:
“Now is not the time to let down our guard and assume we can go back to business as usual. The social distancing measures enacted in our area have helped. We’ve seen fewer cases of illness and fewer deaths than in other parts of our state and our country, and that’s great news. But in the absence of a vaccine, there are still many, many people in our area who have never been infected and are still susceptible to illness with severe complications. We continue to see new cases and deaths reported in our state every day, and we’re adding to our regional case count as well. The COVID-19 pandemic is not over.
For these reasons, we strongly recommend that everyone wear a face mask or cloth covering when in public, especially indoors. If you don’t need to go out, we urge you stay home. If you’re 65 years old or older, or if you have chronic health conditions, you’re still under an executive order to shelter-in-place until mid-June. We’re all weary of these social distancing rules and we’d all like to get back to normal, but we have to move slowly to avoid seeing a new surge in cases that could overwhelm our healthcare community and cost many lives.”
Looking ahead, together we will continue to face unprecedented trials. We will experience many inconveniences, challenges, and frustrations. Please be assured that your local leadership has and will continue to protect our residents and businesses while navigating these challenges.
If you are not one of those who are fearful of the COVID-19 outbreak, I ask you to be sensitive to others who are, recognizing that individual health and personal circumstances are different for each person. The award-winning poet Sonia Renee Taylor said, “There’s a way in which fear can be one of two things – the great divider or the great gatherer.” COVID-19 wins if we let the dilemma between health and economic survival divide friends and neighbors.
This virus has spotlighted the most vulnerable people in our community, but it gives us the opportunity to make a positive impact on their quality of life during this pandemic. Assistance with delivering groceries, checking on isolated friends by calling or texting and refraining from purchasing large quantities of items that are in short supply that people who are sick or disabled need to survive will go a long way to unite and lessen the divide.
Fear brings out the worst in us, but generosity of spirit brings out the best in us and continues to unify the Richmond Hill community. We – as individuals and as a community - will be transformed by the good that we did during this time of crisis. Let’s continue to provide hope to those who are fearful by reaching out in creative ways to lift spirits in this time of social distancing. We truly are all in this together.