Mayor’s Message – March 27, 2020
I wanted to take this opportunity to communicate with you while we are all adjusting our lives to cope with the Coronavirus/COVID-19. Most of us, if any, have never experienced an event like this during our lifetime. I spent considerable time this week meeting with UH officials and interacting on conference calls with federal officials, state officials and Ohio mayors. I want to communicate some information from these discussions plus relay my thoughts and some ideas that are helping me work through this, and I hope you will find helpful as well.
Our federal government has a plan that will resolve this issue. I don’t think it will be as quick as we would like, but this virus will be defeated. They have sealed the borders and reduced the number of people coming in from 60,000 per day to 4,000 per day. The people that are coming in are being medically screened to ensure they are not compounding the issue.
Government is working with private industry to retool; for example, General Motors facilities are making ventilators. They have energized research and development, reduced red tape, and are going full bore from multiple sources working on medical solutions to minimize symptoms and develop a vaccine to prevent infection. They are pumping dollars into our economy to try to assist and ensure the robust American footprint stays intact. We want individuals and businesses to survive this crippling situation and they have created a personal habit instruction book that if we all follow, we will not contract the disease. This plan however needs to be executed by us. Plans can be great but without implementation they are worthless.
Governors around the country have implemented different restrictions thinking they are doing what is required for their state’s situation. One size doesn’t fit all as some areas are harder hit than others. Our state has passed HB197 which I would encourage you to read. It deals with many issues in the area of unemployment benefits, utility shut offs and the list goes on. I can tell you it is designed to protect our residents as they go through this challenging period.
I’ve spoken to a majority of our major employers in Middlefield, most of them are defined as essential businesses and are continuing to operate. I know in discussions with them they are following the guidelines laid out for operating safely.
I was so impressed when I called landlords that lease space to businesses that were ordered to close. A majority of these landlords had already communicated with their tenants about forgoing rent until they could resume operation. I’ve had calls offering food to our front-line personnel or anyone in need. I’ve had offers for individuals that would volunteer their time to assist those in need. You would think this would be a time where we become more selfish as we have huge problems of our own, but it is definitely not the case.
The Village is also thinking of ways to partner and assist. We created a new hot line number for any urgent need that doesn’t fall in the 911 emergency category. We are maintaining all Village services. We also put in procedures that follow the required guidelines to keep our employees safe.
Our large food retailers have created special dedicated shopping hours for at risk individuals.
Our local restaurants have stepped up streamlining their takeout and delivery services, and I encourage you to support as this is their only revenue stream.
We discussed how the Village can creatively financially assist small local businesses in the event these conditions don’t correct within a reasonable period of time. We are in this together and will take whatever action is required to provide maximum assistance.
American citizens will solve this by being disciplined and intelligent in our daily behavior.
I heard the comment yesterday that social distancing does not mean social isolation. I had a resident send me a flyer from another community with an idea I think would be ideal for our Village for all times but especially now. The flyer promoted that every evening at 7 p.m. (weather permitting) go outside your house to the front sidewalk or curb. With this practice you could interact (remember social distancing, 6 feet) with your neighbors, catch up, share ideas for productive use of time and check on each other’s overall wellbeing. I know on my street of 11 homes two of the neighbors are relatively new and I’ve never met them. I hope they participate, and I will have the opportunity to make their acquaintance.
I received another suggestion that we encourage our children to decorate our sidewalks with sidewalk chalk. It would entertain the walkers and keep our children constructively active while they have additional free time.
Last Saturday, my entire family had a dinner competition and then played monopoly using a free app called house party. I felt like we were together, and it made for a great evening.
As damaging as this is, I do see some positives. This is the first time in years, or ever, that families have hit the pause button. I see more positive family unity in this short period than I can ever remember. I hope we appreciate and realize what we may have been missing and will work to keep this cohesiveness going forward.
As I stated earlier, when we posted that we are displaying our flags earlier in the year within the Village, we need to ban together, retain the lessons we learn during this period and keep positive as we look forward to life returning to normal.