Greetings Neighbors and Friends of Richmond Hill,
I want to you assure you that our staff and councilmembers are working diligently to address our City’s daily needs, while at the same time taking the necessary precautions to keep us all safe from the Coronavirus pandemic. We will remain dynamic and responsive to weather this storm because the health and safety of everyone in our beloved community is paramount to us.
As you may have already heard, we’ve asked our local business owners to voluntarily follow social distancing directives that adhere to CDC recommendations to limit occupancy to 50 percent capacity and place tables 6 feet apart. For the businesses that have remained open, we strongly urge them to follow these CDC directives. Please continue to follow our website and social media for updated information since this is a rapidly changing situation.
Our businesses are the backbone of this community. Local business owners don’t just employ our neighbors; more often than not, they live alongside us, too. They support our local youth teams, our schools, our houses of worship, and our charities. And they provide essential character to this City.
Our local business owners are persistent, determined and resilient people. They have defied the odds from Day 1 by never giving up, trusting their instincts and following their dreams relentlessly.
But the threat of Coronavirus spreading to us has led many of them to rapidly modify their services by offering curbside pickup, or they have had to make the difficult decision to temporarily shut their doors. We are immensely grateful for their sacrifice because we know the economic impact will adversely affect them and their employees.
I would ask that we remember their sacrifice for the greater good when we’ve been able to flatten the curve. When businesses can reopen without the fear of spreading this virus, please support them by making a conscious decision to shop local. And shop local often – for they are part of the fabric that makes Richmond Hill a wonderfully charming place to live and raise a family.
The City of Richmond Hill has extended the renewal period for business occupational taxes and suspended late fees for utility bills too. We will not be turning off anyone’s water. Now, more than ever, is the time to extend grace.
Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene and social distancing. When feasible, events should be modified to be virtual.
I ask that our residents, businesses and faith communities continue to take heed of the CDC’s recommendations – as we are doing – and help protect your families, neighbors, coworkers and our community during this unprecedented time. Please keep yourself and your loved ones safe, and know that we are doing our part to protect our beloved City.
While life as we know it has changed dramatically over the past few weeks, one thing certainly hasn’t. We are Richmond Hill - and like we have done in the past with other crisis situations – we’ve supported one another because we have a strong sense of social responsibility, and we choose to act with kindness and compassion first.
Please join me this Sunday, March 22 in a city-wide day of prayer and reflection. Let’s continue to pray for our first responders and healthcare providers who are doing everything in their power to get us out of harm’s way and save lives. Let’s pray for those who have had to make tough decisions for the greater good and pray for those who have been impacted by those difficult decisions. Let us pray for wisdom and knowledge for our government leaders and medical experts so they may gain more insight on how to combat the spread of coronavirus and find a cure.
The future may seem uncertain, but we will face these uncharted waters with faith over fear knowing that we’re all in this together.