Everyone in the Longmont community needs to be able to depend on one another, and “to be responsible to one another” in protecting themselves and others during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, City Councilman Tim Waters said Tuesday night.
“We all have a part to play. We all have a responsibility of being safe,” said Councilwoman Susie Hidalgo-Fahring.
People aren’t “used to living in this manner,” said Councilman Aren Rodriguez, but he urged people “to be patient with one another,” particularly when they’re out in public.
“Let;s just be good neighbors to each other, because this is a community,” Rodriguez said.
At the conclusion of their Tuesday night study-session review of the latest state, county and local responses, directives, orders, guidelines and policies intended to protect people from the disease, Waters, Hidalgo-Fahring and Rodriguez — along with each of their four other Longmont City Council colleagues — were asked by City Manager Harold Dominguez to take the opportunity to tell what they’d “like the community to know at this point.”
Mayor Brian Bagley said he supports “complete and full transparency” in government being honest with the public about the potentially dangerous health and economic impacts people have been facing for more than a month and could continue for months to come.
He said everybody in the community should know “what the threat is, what we’re dong to counteract it.”
“This is not a curse from God,” Councilwoman Polly Christensen said, noting that pandemics have happened “since the beginning of time” and that humankind has survived.
“We just need to follow the rules because we know what works, we know what doesn’t work,” she said. “We’re all in an uncomfortable situation, but it won’t last forever.”
Councilwoman Joan Peck said many people have contacted her with questions about how and where to get help, and she encouraged people to continue to get in touch with their Council members with such queries.
“If we don’t know the answer, we can find it out for them,” Peck said. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to your Council people.”
Councilwoman Marcia Martin noted the efforts under way to protect people’s health while plans are developed and implemented, over time, for “putting people back to work.”
Earlier in Tuesday’s meeting, Council members — once again, in a virtual meeting from remote locations — got a series of what have become weekly reports about Longmont and partnering governments, nonprofit service agencies and business organizations. The reports covered what they’re doing to come up with ways to prepare for the eventual end of, and hopefully, recovery from, the pandemic.
Boulder County Public Health Executive Director Jeff Zayach emphasized “until we have a vaccine or a treatment” for the coronavirus — something many health experts have predicted could be a year or more away — “social distancing will be part of our lives.”
Zayach emphasized the importance of people maintaining safe distances from each other, and wearing masks, when Colorado shifts from “stay-at-home” orders to what Gov. Jared Polis has called a “safer-at-home” mode.
Bagley said he is frustrated by the political divides “being showcased on this issue” but he told the meeting’s live-stream audience that he is personally dealing with many of the same negative physical ad mental effects of isolation.
“It’s just a crappy situation to be in,” Bagley said, whether one is on the political left or right, but he also continued to express his support for Longmont to follow the governor’s lead.