Mayor recommends caution, courtesy, calm

Brian Coddington, Communications Director, (509) 625-6740

Saturday, March 14, 2020 at 2:48 p.m.

Mayor Nadine Woodward and her incident management team are meeting throughout the day to work through community needs associated with the COVID-19 virus concern. She sent the following message to the community:

“Our community has been preparing for weeks and doing its part to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus to and in our community. At the careful and thoughtful guidance of the Spokane Regional Health District, Spokane has put its neighbors, friends, and loved ones first in the interest of community health.

Today we received confirmation of three cases in our community. The difficult decisions and the collective efforts of everyone has allowed Spokane to learn from the experiences of the 15 other counties that already had confirmed cases, despite our status as the second largest city in the state.

We, more than ever, need to exercise the same diligent, common-sense approach to limiting the number of cases in Spokane.

This is going to take a community effort. The best thing that you can do for yourself, your loved ones, and the community is to be cautious, courteous, and calm.

That means practicing social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. Consistently practicing good hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette and protect those with weakened or compromised immune systems. And, most importantly, relying on local, state, and federal public health experts as trusted sources of information and showing compassion for those around you who may be feeling social anxiety.

Public health experts believe, based on science and data, those actions remain the best way to keep the disease manageable and the load on our healthcare system reasonable.

Beginning next week, schools will be closed until at least April 24 at the governor’s order. That is creating uneasiness for families who are making extended childcare plans so that they can continue to work.

We met with Spokane Public Schools today to discuss its plans and opportunities for the city to partner and share resources wherever it makes sense for our community. The discussion included ideas for childcare resources.

Businesses also are feeling the pressure of the postponement and cancellation of large events. Large employers are taking similar steps the city is taking to identify telecommute and flexible scheduling options for employees to keep operations running smoothly.

The City is involved in discussions about easing the impact to small businesses, which are the lifeblood of our community. We are also working with business leaders to encourage consumers to use alternative methods through technology to continue to frequent their favorite businesses and restaurants via delivery and to-go options.

Protecting those experiencing homelessness is a priority. City staff continue to coordinate and work with community providers and facilities to continue to prevent, monitor and respond with guidance from public health officials.

At the City, we have prepared to maintain critical public services, from public safety response to delivery of clean drinking water. We are encouraging our citizens and customers to use our online and similar distance options for doing business with the City.  And, we have prioritized work with our community providers and facilities that serve those experiencing homelessness to continue to prevent, monitor, and respond with guidance from public health officials.

We are committed to providing new information as it becomes available and are heartened by the community response. Stories are starting to emerge of individuals and organizations stepping forward to help each other in times of need. That care and generosity is what sets Spokane apart.

Together, cautiously, courteously, and calmly we will slow the spread of this illness.”