As I write December’s mayor’s corner, we are in week one of Governor Brown’s freeze. Nov. 19 marked the highest number of cases and deaths reported in a single day in Oregon since the beginning of the pandemic. OHA reported 1,225 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases and 20 new deaths. I know residents and businesses are feeling the impact of this freeze both in terms of continued anxiety and financial uncertainty. COVID fatigue is hitting us all. COVID fatigue causes us to get sloppy about the precautions we know we should take (washing hands, wearing masks, maintaining physical distance). With the holidays upon us we must protect ourselves and loved ones by limiting gatherings and curbing contact with others outside your household. We must drive down the infection rate. If we remain on the path we are on now with increasing daily COVID-19 cases, hospitals in Oregon could reach capacity by mid-December. My sincere gratitude goes out to health care professionals and first responders during this second surge of COVID.
Please continue to support our local businesses during the holidays. The decision to close bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery will put increased economic stress on our restaurants and bars. The city and our local Business Resource Center (BRC) in the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce will continue to offer assistance to small businesses via various grant programs and information sharing.
While in-person celebrations are limited to two households, there are still ways to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones. Help keep friends and family safe by choosing lower-risk activities. Here are some ideas on how to celebrate differently this year:
- Going on a walk to see holiday decorations with the people who live with you.
- Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially for those who are most likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Deliver without having contact with others.
- A virtual dinner night and sharing recipes with friends and family.
- A virtual movie night with family and friends.
- A virtual holiday craft night with family and friends.
I’d like to thank outgoing Councilors Robert Kellogg and Paul Morrison for their service to the Tualatin community. Robert was very active with transportation issues while Paul was a strong advocate for our parks. I welcome Cyndy Hillier and Christen Sacco to the Council in January. The new council will be very unique as six of the seven councilors will be women. I learned at a National League of Cities conference that as more women are elected to office, there is a corollary increase in policymaking that emphasizes quality of life and reflects the priorities of families, women, and ethnic and racial minorities. All of these priorities are important to Tualatin residents.
I want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, and a joyful Kwanzaa, whichever event is celebrated by you and yours. Do not forget about your neighbor who might be alone this holiday season. Check in on them and make sure they have food and medical supplies on hand. As we enter the new year, the city’s top priority is the safety of our residents, our staff, and our businesses. I am very optimistic that 2021 will be a much better year than 2020. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!