Mayor’s Minute: Reflection on COVID-19
March 18, 2020
In recent weeks, the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has wreaked havoc globally, and has now arrived on our Nation’s shores with many unknowns. As Mayor, my foremost responsibility is to keep Tuscaloosa’s residents safe, healthy and thriving. That is why in January, well before any cases of the virus had been detected in the state, the City began preparing plans to respond to this moment. My goal all along has been to be as prepared as we can possibly be to take this serious threat head-on and keep Tuscaloosa safe.
Cities are the center of American life. I want to reiterate, as I often do, that the City will not close. Tuscaloosa is my family’s home and home to the families of City team members who have been and will continue to work tirelessly in the face of these uncharted waters. Our team has been preparing for months, and we will take every step necessary to keep Tuscaloosa safe.
Some of the steps the City has taken so far to meet this challenge head on include: activating incident command mode to provide any personnel, financial, and legal resources needed to respond as a City; cancelling all City-sponsored events in the near future; suspending professional travel for City employees; declaring a state of emergency to ensure our financial ability to respond as quickly as possible to any needs that may arise; and encouraging local businesses, churches, daycares, and other establishments to follow evolving CDC and Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines to keep people safe.
The City is also in constant communication with and support of the City School System and the DCH Health System, as they follow state mandates and make important judgement calls for the safety of our students, our families, and our community. By working together with local, state, and federal agencies, the City is fortifying the strength of our response to this challenge. I feel confident that we are doing everything we can to keep Tuscaloosa safe.
I also know that the most effective response to a pandemic such as this one does not come from local, state, or federal governments, but rather from individuals in our community. You can do your part by focusing on four key elements: precaution, planning, communication, and common sense. Take steps to slow the spread of the virus by avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people and staying in your home as much as you can. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Avoid rumors on social media and seek reliable information from trusted sources such as the CDC, the Alabama Department of Public health, and the City’s COVID-19 information webpage: Tuscaloosa.com/covid19.
Lastly, I want to leave you with a message of hope. Tuscaloosa is resilient and ready to meet this challenge with strength, dedication, and common sense. We prepare every day to ensure that the City can respond to obstacles like this, and I feel confident that Tuscaloosa will rise to meet this unprecedented moment with unprecedented resolve, and emerge stronger than ever before. I am thankful to each and every one of you for your patience and cooperation, and I know we will all rise to meet this moment together and remain #TTownReady.