Message from the Mayor

Hello everyone,

To say that we are in strange times is understating it a tad. Our lives are topsy-turvy, and unlikely to turn right way up for some time yet. Very few of us have lived through a period remotely like it. The one that comes to mind in my lifetime is the threat of polio, and while it affected some of the people I grew up with, the Salk vaccine virtually stopped it in its tracks.

A similar vaccine for the corona virus is still some time away - 12 months at least.

Which makes the social and economic disruption we are currently experiencing the price we must pay to avoid the worst of this pandemic. 

For me, the social distancing, stay-at-home requirements are a nuisance, but not onerous.

The economic impact of the closure of businesses is another matter. Many people in our communities find themselves out of work, many of our businesses forced to close or greatly limit their operations. While government support is on its way, the accessibility of that support is frustratingly slow. Meanwhile, bills need to be paid, rents falls due and mortgages have to be serviced. As the government’s support programs come on line, some of that pressure will be eased. Not eradicated, but eased.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m not making an argument for a relaxation of our social distancing requirements. On the contrary, these measures are absolutely essential if we are to avoid an Italy-like flooding of our health care systems. The evidence from overseas is clear on this. The expert modelling of the spread of the disease supports it. 

So my plea to you is this:

Don’t think of this as something that applies to everybody except you.

Don’t assume that because you feel OK that you are not a carrier.

Don’t assume that those around you are not carriers.

Don’t assume that because we are in the country, we won’t be affected. We already are!

Restrictions are going to get tighter before they are relaxed. More businesses will close. Greater limits on gatherings will come into effect. Schools will all close. And hospitals will come under dramatically more pressure. 

The responsibility for every one of us is not to add to the problem. How we behave will determine that.

Best regards, Chris Bilkey