Commissioner Stuart’s Message – April 2020
It is March 26, 2020 and writing this, like everything else I have done in the past weeks, is like nothing I have ever done before. Orange County’s Stay at Home Order is in effect through April 9th. I’m getting ready to have a city council meeting utilizing technology so that we can all teleconference in from a safe distance away from one another while finding a way to still allow the public the opportunity to comment on their government’s business.
With information ever changing, please do your best to verify your sources of information. Both the city’s website has a page, orlando.gov/covid19, dedicated to providing up to date information and links to trusted resources. The county also has a very detailed page with information that can be found by visiting ocfl.net/CORONAVIRUS.
In the midst of all this, I remember a quote from Mr. Rogers, who said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
I have witnessed so many people helping and I am confident that we will get through this together. When we are on the other side, we will continue helping our community, especially our small businesses and hospitality industry recover from this since they are truly what make our area unique.
While I know many of us are personally being affected, and it is sometimes difficult to look past our own very real and pressing issues to the greater community. But I believe that in doing just that, helping when it is hard, helping when we need help too, is the true sign of the resilience of a city and I truly believe in Orlando has that strength. We are built to face challenges and face them together.
From purchasing a gift card to your favorite retail business, bar or restaurant to use in the future, to calling an elderly neighbor or writing a letter to someone, even these small things can make a big difference. Publicly thanking our healthcare workers, our first responders, our agriculture community, our delivery people goes a long way too.
If you have money to give, check out the United Way’s Alice Fund, which will assist workers impacted by the pandemic. (hfuw.org). Or if you can give blood, they need you now more than ever as there are shortages. Visit oneblood.org with ways to give safely and conveniently.
While the light at the end of the tunnel may seem far away (but my prayer is not as far away when folks are reading this later in April), we will get through this together. Our city has a history of doing hard things, things that many touted as nearly impossible. While this is like nothing we have faced, I have unwavering faith that we will come back from this stronger and more robust than ever, with a greater appreciation for all that our community has to offer our citizens. We may be standing at a distance, but we are still standing together.