A Message from Mayor Stimpson - March 24
Mar 24th, 2020
Posted in: COVID-19
It is 9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, and I am writing to give you an update on the City of Mobile's efforts regarding COVID-19.
As of tonight we have five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mobile County. Of course we know there are more and we expect that figure to rise as we increase the number of tests in the City.
COVID-19 is our top priority. This virus is a threat to our community and my team is 100 percent focused on doing all we can to protect you. Working together, we will make it through this difficult time.
We are testing more people each day, and we are pushing as hard as possible to secure more test kits for the City. We are not waiting on the federal government or anyone else to provide them to us. We are taking action on your behalf.
My team is working around the clock to identify sources and bring more test kits to Mobile. We hope to have 1,000 more by the end of this week, and possibly another 10,000 by April 1.
I have said consistently that COVID-19 is first and foremost a public health crisis. I've also said that we can't ignore the fact that it is also an economic crisis, causing tremendous hardship on so many of our citizens.
I want you to understand why I believe this is important. When people lose their jobs, they lose more than a paycheck. They often lose their health insurance. They may lose their homes, their families, their dreams.
In addition, the City depends on sales taxes to fund its operations. We are studying the economic impact of COVID-19, and can already project about $7 million in lost revenue each month.
It's time like these that our hard work to manage the city budget becomes so valuable.
The good news is that we have built a reserve that can help carry us through the downturn. What we don't know is how long the downturn will last.
We use your tax dollars to pay for policemen, firemen and garbage collectors, among other crucial services. Our goal is to continue those services with no interruption or cut backs, because they are basic to your safety and well-being.
That is why the public health crisis and the economic crisis are so intertwined, and why the challenge we face in the weeks ahead is so significant.
I am convinced that we can protect public health and protect our economy. We are not confused: Our top priority is fighting the spread of this terrible virus. But we will also fight for Mobile's economic health.
The best thing that we all can do is to follow the recommended CDC guidelines, including washing your hands regularly, practicing social distancing and staying home if you're sick. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
If we all follow these steps, we will save lives.
A few more things we did today:
- The morning was spent in meetings with the Mobile City Council. We appreciate their unanimous approval of our request to waive penalties for businesses who may be late paying their sales and lodging taxes. This is a small but important step to help our local business owners. More to come.
- We implemented additional policies to reduce face-to-face meetings at City Hall and conduct more business by phone and Internet. We are doing all we can to protect city employees so the wheels of government keep turning.
- We participated in a conference call with mayors from all of the cities in Mobile County, sharing ideas on how we can help each other through this crisis. I am grateful to be part of such a strong network of public servants.
- We conducted a news conference to update the media, answering any and all questions. We are trying to do this every day to make sure we are being responsive and providing good information to the public.
I am grateful to those of you who have responded with prayers and words of support - they are appreciated.
There are no easy decisions in a crisis. The actions we are taking are difficult but necessary. Please know that the safety of you and your loved ones is always foremost in my mind.
Mayor Sandy Stimpson