The mayor’s remarks on pandemic

Published 10:33 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2020

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To the citizens of Suffolk:

As your mayor, please understand that the health, safety and well-being of our citizens is the top priority of City Council and city administration as we all deal with the uncertainties related to the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We are acutely aware that this is a quickly evolving situation that impacts our entire community and our day-to-day activities and indeed, our way of life.

Out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, or “flatten the curve,” as we’ve heard in media coverage, we’ve already implemented the necessary aggressive steps to protect our vulnerable populations.

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Our Office of Emergency Management remains in constant contact with our community partners, including officials from the Virginia Department of Health and medical providers, and we continue to follow all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as we move forward.

“Self-isolating” and “social distancing” are certainly terms that are totally unfamiliar to our citizens, as that is not the “Suffolk way.” For the sake of the health of our community, however, we need to take these extreme actions.  I am fully aware of the immensely compassionate and caring citizens throughout our entire city, and we will need to call on each of you for your assistance in the days ahead, as protecting ourselves will require all facets of the community to work together.

When reflecting on this emergency, I’m reminded of the following quote: “It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.” Take time to call a senior that may be isolated and alone. Check on a neighbor that may not be able to get to the store to see if you can pick up some items for them on your next grocery trip. Drop off a book, game or puzzle for a mother with young children at home while schools are canceled. The list could go on and on.

Indeed, we’ll need your consideration, patience and understanding as we navigate these unprecedented challenges and help those that have been impacted. We haven’t faced a medical crisis like this as a nation in living memory. It is how we respond to these challenges that determines what our end point will be.

Stay safe, and God bless.

Mayor Linda T. Johnson