Like many of you, I watch the news feeds and my thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by the COVID-19 virus. Our world has changed, and I am mindful that many across the globe, and our local community, are wondering how this outbreak could alter the way their family works and raises a family.
While cities, families, and individuals across the nation will ultimately handle this burden differently, I am confident that Modesto will be able to withstand the tough decisions that will need to be made for the health of the community.
A few of those decisions are unfortunate, but necessary, and recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Stanislaus County Health Officer. The City has cancelled or is recommending cancellation of all events of 10 or more people, especially for those over the age of 65. We’re also encouraging residents and visitors to practice social distancing in order to steer clear of those who may be ill.
I have great confidence in the work of our City Manager, Fire Chief, and Police Chief and our entire leadership team. Our team is working constantly with the County’s Emergency Operations Center, and we’re operating from our Emergency Action Plans, which give guidance for how we continue to operate and serve the public in these times of crisis. This guidance may be a change to what life was like before COVID-19, but I know you will agree that putting aside our comforts and expectations will need to be the norm for the coming weeks.
I will be calling for a special teleconferencing meeting of the City Council this week in order to ratify the Proclamation of Local Emergency signed by the City Manager. The declaration puts us in a better position to collaborate with county, state, and Federal agencies, and to seek State and Federal Government assistance for individuals, our Businesses, and our City.
As of today, the City Manager and I have made the difficult decision to restrict public access to City Hall. City staff will still be available to the public by telephone (209-577-5200). These are the right moves in this time of uncertainty, as my number one priority will be to protect the safety of our Citizens, maintain our local economy, and give hope to our businesses.
Modesto is a City with a true sense of a community. We are a 150-year old community that has weathered many events over these many years as the City of Modesto. We are fully capable of going through hard times and coming out on top. I’m counting on you to help me encourage everyone from your family members, friends and your neighbors that we’re in this together, and we’ll get through this together.