I want to reiterate that all decisions regarding the path forward for Orangeburg during the novel coronavirus pandemic will be thorough and measured and, most important, in the best interest of all citizens.
Throughout this pandemic, members of City Council; John Yow, city administrator; the Department of Public Utility under the leadership of Warren Harley, and others have been in collaboration to help develop the proper and appropriate course of action to mitigate spread of the virus. Their work is greatly appreciated.
The state of emergency and curfew that were imposed on April 8 remain in effect until further notice. I believed then as I do now that COVID-19 is a threat to the health of many of our citizens, age notwithstanding. Everyone is at risk and we continue to follow safety guidelines as recommended by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, including facial coverings, social distancing and hand washing.
COVID-19 won’t allow us to be reckless and irresponsible. There is a hefty price to pay to do so. Orangeburg citizens continue to feel the pain of the loss of loved ones. Each death due to the coronavirus hurts deeply and families feel an emotional sense of helplessness.
One of the hardest hit sectors of our community is small businesses. We are aware of the unprecedented burden they are facing to remain afloat and even survive. We are empathetic to their struggles and hope our plight with the virus will either abate or end, enabling owners to reopen and get back on their feet again.
I want to applaud medical staffs and first responders in Orangeburg who are on the frontline battling COVID-19. They have gone and continue to go beyond the call of duty to save lives from this virus that has crippled our nation. Doctors and nurses are putting themselves at risk. It is the noblest of acts to save lives, and we can demonstrate in creative ways to show our gratitude.
In Orangeburg, we are not at the stage to feel comfortable about lifting the state of emergency and curfew. We must be prudent and we will move forward with deliberate speed because too many lives are at stake.
One death is one too many.