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Councillor proposes siphoning sewer surcharge for pandemic relief (11 historic COVID speeches)

'When you're in a crisis, it's not a matter of rights. It's a matter of responsibilities' - Mayor Christian Provenzano
2020-04-06 Christian Provenzano COVID DH
Lonely at the top: Mayor Christian Provenzano saunters to his vehicle from an almost-empty Civic Centre after a City Council meeting on Monday, April 6, 2020. Provenzano was the sole council member in the building, but called in to the teleconferenced meeting from his office upstairs. Only Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm White and City Clerk Rachel Tyczinski were actually in the council chambers, with the mayor's seat left empty to ensure pandemic-appropriate social distancing. David Helwig/SooToday

At a City Council meeting this past week, Mayor Christian Provenzano invited each ward councillor to deliver a special, two-minute message to the community about COVID-19.

Councillors were given advance notice, allowing them to prepare their remarks in advance.

Novel coronavirus having turned 2020 into a momentous, unprecedented year, these City Council addresses will become part of local history, studied by future generations for whatever they can teach us about the wisdom, courage, compassion and leadership of our times.

Two minutes?

Well, no one appeared to be really watching the clock during the special orations.

By SooToday's calculation, the average councillor went over time by one minute and 24 seconds.

After a six-minute-and-12-second declamation by Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Shoemaker, Mayor Provenzano interjected and loosened the rules, asking everyone to now keep their comments "under three minutes, so we can give everybody, you know, an equitable amount of time."

Ward 4 Coun. Marchy Bruni was the second-most-loquacious presenter, at five minutes, three seconds. 

At the other end of the scale were Ward 5's Corey Gardi, who spoke just one minute, 37 seconds, and his Usain Bolt-quick Ward 2 counterpart Luke Dufour, clocked at just 58 seconds.

Speech highlights ranged from:

  • a warning from Ward 1's Paul Christian that people shouldn't be riding around on city buses just because they're free
  • Coun. Shoemaker's exhortation to refrain from extended family gatherings this Easter weekend
  • another Shoemaker recommendation for more specific information from Algoma Public Health about where confirmed COVID-19 cases are coming from in the district
  • advice on homeschooling from Ward 2's Lisa Vezeau-Allen
  • a suggestion from Ward 4's Rick Niro that the city sewer surcharge that appears on PUC bills be temporarily suspended or reduced to allow some COVID relief

"Suspending [the sewer surcharge] or reducing the percentage collected for a number of months will give some immediate financial assistance without directly impacting our budget," Niro said.

"The downside, of course, may be that that reduction may impact some upcoming project that is funded directly from that surcharge account," Niro added.

On behalf of the city, PUC bills and collects costs for the sewage system through monthly PUC water bills.

"As of January 1, 2016 the city sewer charge for a residential customer is 62 per cent of the total water charges and 82 per cent for a non-residential customer," the PUC website states.

Mayor Provenzano is now considering allowing a committee-of-the-whole COVID-19 discussion, conducted under relaxed procedural rules, at the next City Council meeting on April 27.

In view of their historical significance, SooToday has chosen to publish the following full transcripts of this week's 11 City Council speeches.

Councillors were asked by the mayor to speak in order of seniority.

Ward 4 Coun. Marchy Bruni (5 minutes, 3 seconds)

First and foremost, I would like to start off thanking the appropriate people.

I hope I don't miss anybody. If I do, I do apologize.

All front-line workers, the essential workers, the doctors, the nurses, police services, the fire services, a special call-out to the EMS [emergency medical services], the ambulance workers and the PSWs [personal support workers] who make personal visits to homes taking care of our elderly.

I've witnessed the true professionalism and caring of these groups and I am very impressed.

To all the grocery store workers, for the patience and understanding during this difficult time and staying open so that people can shop for food.

To the restaurants, store owners, the meat stores, the pharmacies and staff for staying open and providing food when called upon. Many of these restaurants had to diversify to stay open and still provide employment to their staff.

To all our special agencies and especially Social Services under the guidance of Mike Nadeau with the shortage of food to the less fortunate, transports of food have arrived and will continue.

Also Harvest Algoma for ordering, staging and distributing the food to the city.

To all other agencies who have stepped up to the plate for the children and the youth, people with developmental and physical disabilities and emergency shelters.

But in reality, they are doing what they normally do, a true testament of caring for our society.

I also want to thank the residents of Ward 4 and the whole city for their understanding of the position our city is in.

Also, I'd like to thank the emergency management control group for working as a team. Coun. Niro, Coun. Gardi and myself sit on this committee as council representation along with Mayor Provenzano and our [Chief Administrative Officer] Malcolm White leading the way. At any given time between 26 and 30 individuals representing their organizations, discussing the emergency strategies and planning, working together, making our city as safe as possible.

To our city workers who have not lost a beat. PWT [public works and transportation] working on our roads with the street-sweeping program, pothole repairs and our transit service continuing with the bus service.

Our City Hall staff who are working from Foster Drive or from home, they have not skipped a beat providing taxpayers with the service they require.

To the staff at Sault Area Hospital in these difficult times, I have seen how the senior staff have made provisions to set up tents and perform the COVID-19 testing to ensure the safety of everyone in the hospital and residents of Sault Ste. Marie.

And I must not forget Algoma Public Health, under the guidance of associate medical officer Dr. Jennifer Loo. Algoma Public Health is the leader in this health crisis. We must follow their specific instructions. It's very simple. We are in a critical time, the next couple of weeks. It's important the virus does not spread.

I don't know how simple the message can be. Stay home. Don't go out unless it is for medical reasons or for food. Wash your hands regularly. It's that simple. Social distancing is very important also. Two metres. Six feet. Stay apart. And if you have travelled, you must be quarantined for 14 days. 

And finally, I'd like to thank Mayor Provenzano and our CAO Malcolm White, for their leadership throughout this crisis. I hear Mr. White on the radio. Mayor Provenzano is on the radio every Monday morning providing updates.

So the public is getting information, not only from the City Council but also from Algoma Public Health, Sault Area Hospital. PUC also is a key contributor.

So I thank you everybody. God bless. Everybody be safe.

Ward 1 Coun. Paul Christian (3 minutes, 33 seconds)

I want to start off by recognizing in the community as a whole, those people out there who clearly are following health protocols established by the levels of government and the health organizations.

Based on my limited travels, I see the vast majority of people trying to do their best to keep proper social distancing and I think that's really, really important. It sends a message to anybody that had any doubts about whether they should or not.

And the reports that I'm getting show that virtually every business that is open in town right now is implementing their own procedures based on guidelines to protect their employees and the public in general. So we appreciate that.

Thank you to everyone who is required to work, as Coun. Bruni pointed out, among them grocery stores, pharmacy, medical personnel. I can't name them all. Anyone that's working or is required to work, please know that all of us in Sault Ste. Marie appreciate your efforts.

And of course, to Algoma Public Health for their guidance and information. That's critical. These are times of uncertainty for everyone. And by having this information and this guidance and an organization leading us through this really helps.

I want to thank city staff as I did at our last meeting for providing the essential services that we require whether it's police, fire, public works, EMS, transit – to everyone at the city that's working.

It's times like this that we see how important our city services are. In particular, I want to highlight transit workers, who are our front lines. We see people having to use transit out of necessity and we need to protect those front-line workers so that they can provide that service.

Our transit, like others across the province, are offering free rides, even though the service is limited. I've read reports about cities who have transit riders who are doing so to kill time, are using it simply because it's free.

We have to make sure that no one is taking the limited space that we can provide and using it, unless it's absolutely necessary. There are people that need to get to work, medical appointments. It's important that those who can find other alternative methods need to use it.

I encourage everyone to stay diligent and positive. These are uncharted waters. I get the sense that we're all pulling together and that's important.

I urge people to check on people close to you. Neighbours, especially anyone with special needs or limitations. Keep your distance and understand that we are all collectively responsible for ourselves. And by doing so, we're acting in the best interests of our community as a whole.

I said this earlier and I'll say it again – we'll get through this.

I'm optimistic that at some point in the near future we'll look back on this with a lot of pride as we collectively got through this.

So stay positive, support each other and protect each other.

Ward 4 Coun. Rick Niro (3 minutes, 16 seconds)

Let me start by saying 'thank you' again to all those people who continue to provide us with all the critical health services, those essential services that are required to keep our community healthy and safe.

And of course, that includes everyone who is still working to get us through this crisis, city or otherwise.

I believe this community has been and continues to be very well served with the good work and leadership of Algoma Public Health.

I would also like to note the important role that Sault Area Hospital has played in ensuring that they're well prepared for any surge in treatment.

I want to thank our DSSMSSAB [District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board] which provides a social services network and has been doing important work in supporting the homeless, Ontario Works, emergency assistance, food security, child care and paramedic services.

I want to thank you, Mr. Mayor, and Mr. White, who on behalf of the city support and work with every one of these agencies from Algoma Public Health to Sault Area Hospital to Social Services, EMS, police, fire and PUC.

I know that you, together with the leaders of these agencies, work on this issue day in and day out.

COVID-19 has changed the way we live. We're all facing health and economic challenges unlike anything we're ever seen. From residential to commercial to industrial, everyone is impacted in some way.

As a council, we must come up with ways to help people come up with ways to get through this and ultimately put whatever we can in place to help in recovery.

Although the federal and provincial governments can provide much-needed financial help and they can do so by running deficits, we on the other hand are legislated to a balanced budget and cannot.

We have already deferred interest and penalties on the May 5 tax bill and our staff are looking into other ways we may be able to help.

We must keep in mind, though, that whatever amount we do go over the budget this year, we may have to make it up next year.

Staff isn't already looking at this. I would like to suggest that staff take a look at our sewer surcharge which we collect as part of the PUC bill.

Suspending it or reducing the percentage collected for a number of months will give some immediate financial assistance without directly impacting our budget.

The downside, of course, may be that that reduction may impact some upcoming project that is funded directly from that surcharge account.

For now, the important thing is to stop the spread of this virus.

But if you haven't already heard this, let me say it again. Stay home. Wash your hands. If you must go out stay two metres apart and trust our municipal, provincial and federal leaders who are taking direction from our health experts.

Stay active. Check in on those who are most vulnerable and alone.

If we continue to listen and practise what is being recommended now, we will get through this sooner by stopping the spread of this virus.

Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Shoemaker (6 minutes, 12 seconds)

Obviously this weekend is Easter Weekend and I think the tradition for a lot of families including my family would be to get together, have the big Easter dinner together.

The importance of staying away and apart – physically distant although not socially distant – is important, just as important as it has been in previous weeks.

And perhaps even more important because of the tendency to want to get together over the holidays. Please do not get together for big gatherings as this weekend approaches. You put not just yourself at risk, but your loved ones at risk, your family at risk, your parents or grandparents.

We can stay physically distant, keep our hands clean, don't touch our faces. That will be the best way that we can stop the spread of this disease and the sooner and more strictly we follow these guidelines, the sooner we'll be able to get back to normal life.

If we don't follow the recommendations now, these measures are simply going to be in place for a longer time. We all want to, I think, return to how things were, so please keep your distance, wash your hands, stay away from large gatherings. Do not feel the temptation to get together with large family gatherings this weekend. It is really not a good practice to do.

With respect to community, how we have handled this, how our business community, our residents have handled this, I applaud our entire population and I applaud our residents for staying socially distant.

I've noticed a lot of people walking but, you know, people cross each other on the sidewalk, they give each other space and keep their distance. That is what needs to be done. I know that it is difficult. I know that it can be difficult for family to stay away from loved ones, from people who we regularly see, and that has put an ask on people's mental health, so anyone who needs it should call to the mental health services that are available.

The adult mental health line is 1-866-531-2600 and the kid's help phone is 1-800-668-6868. Those are resources that are available to anyone who is struggling to get through this time, because it is a struggle. Those provincial services are available to you if you need them.

With respect to our business sector, it was mentioned at the last meeting but staff are looking into how we can use our economic development fund to assist those businesses that are going through difficult times at this time.

We will be expecting a report back on that from staff shortly and hopefully we will have some measures available to the business community, specifically the tourism-related businesses, the service-related businesses that have been mandated to shut down at this time, through no fault of their own, really.

With respect to the deferral of taxes, we have deferred interest and penalties on the May 5 tax payment date to the beginning of June.

I and other councillors are pushing to extend that deferral perod beyond June 1. I believe this is the least the city can do. It's one of the very few tools available to us. And it's one of the things, in my opinion, we must do to help support our residents and all taxpayers in the city of Sault Ste. Marie. Not just for the three or four weeks we've currently deferred it, but beyond that as well, until we are through this crisis.

With respect to Algoma Public Health, they need to be commended for their medical recommendations, for how they're handling and treating the spread of the disease in Sault Ste. Marie and area.

I have asked and will continue to ask that they do disclose more information on where the source of these people who are testing positive are from in the district. As do Porcupine Health Unit, the Northwestern Health Unit, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, Public Health Sudbury and Districts, should be following a best practice in that regard, and I think that we should be disclosing more information on where the source of these positive tests is coming from, if not for any reason other than, you tend to relate more to something when it affects your community specifically or when it affects a neighbour of yours.

So, while people should be following the recommendations no matter what, obviously that's important, they might do so more stringently if they know more specifically that it's in their communities.

Those are my comments, Mr. Mayor. Thank you for your efforts and the CAO's efforts over the last number of weeks and continuing on over the next several weeks for sure.

I hope that we will get through this soon and if everyone sticks to the recommendations we'll get through it sooner.

Ward 1 Coun. Sandra Hollingsworth (4 minutes, 19 seconds)

I just to say, my previous colleagues spoke very, very well and they definitely touched on many key players helping through this.

I'm not going to repeat all the wonderful 'thank-yous' because I echo every comment that my previous colleagues have stated.

I just wanted to touch on three main areas very quickly.

Community spirit. Once again, Sault Ste. Marie, our community has community spirit. All of us have noted in this short time period an Easter hunt has been happening. As you drive down the street, as you look at SooToday and different Facebook pages, you see children's pictures, children's paper eggs in all the windows. What a wonderful idea to do a safe-distance Easter hunt to keep the spirit alive. Well done on community spirit.

The other piece on community spirit is 'thank you' for those people who have been putting signs up at the hospital. Thank you to our health care workers. Once again, families are painting, families are making up homemade signs and putting them on the front lawn at the hospital. A very safe distance, to say thank you to the health care workers.

Two great examples of community spirit.

Also, another example is people are out there sewing masks for the health care workers. And also Maker North, they're using their 3D computer to make plastic shields for the health care workers.

Many more examples of community spirit, how we're all pulling together, Very, very good and well done.

Also at this time I want to say thank you to our teachers. There is something new that is going to be put on to our teachers' plate this week. As everyone knows, online learning is becoming now the norm while we go through this uncertain time. Teachers, thank you for being so adaptive, so flexible, to make sure that our children are educated through these challenging times. 

And I know that many of the courses might be online. I also know talking to trustees at the school boards that are trying to make sure all children that don't have computers are going to be educated. And if you do have a computer that you want to donate to a family, that is clean and make sure it cleans, you may want to reach out to a family that may not have a computer. So teachers, thank you for being flexible. 

Also, to the food banks, I notice in grocery stores, this food drop area. You can actually buy extra food if you have the means, drop it into a big bin, and the food is going to go off to our food banks. Please consider giving an extra can or two to our food banks, and if you can, a financial donation to charity.

These are groups that do still need to be helped. Our food banks are receiving additional help from our DSSMSSAB board. Please, if you do have the means, drop off excess food in the drop-off.

Small businesses, absolutely, as Coun. Shoemaker said, we must continue to support our local small businesses. Thank you to those who are ordering take-out food from our mom-and-pop restaurants. Thank you for those that are calling different supply companies to do curb drop-off. Small businesses we need to support.

In closing, I want to recognize two councillors for bringing unsung heroes. We'll see this later in our meeting. Coun. Dufour, Coun. Vezeau-Allen, absolutely right. Unsung heroes are all through our community and I look forward to hearing further comments from both of you later in our meeting.

So again in closing, please remember, we are a very close community with lots of community spirit.

Thank you for that. Stay healthy, stay at home and most of all, wash your hands and watch over your loved ones and people that may be living alone.  

Ward 2 Coun. Luke Dufour (58 seconds)

I would certainly like to echo the comments of my previous colleagues in thanking all city staff and yourself, Mr. Mayor.

For my allotted time, I really wanted to bring up the low-income folks in our community.

I think that it's very revealing in times of a viral pandemic, from a public health perspective and from an economic perspective, that we realized that our community can only be as strong as the weakest among us.

And so with that I would really like to thank everyone at Social Services from CAO Mike Nadeau to the senior management team all the way down to our wonderful staff who have really stepped up and done an incredible job in serving our clients in this time of need.

Your service not only helps our clients, but it helps the community stay as strong as possible throughout this pandemic so thank you very, very much. That's all, Mr. Mayor.

Ward 3 Coun. Donna Hilsinger (3 minutes, 2 seconds)

I would also like to echo all of the thanks that were given to so many people in the community. Thank you to everyone who's continung to work on the front lines in whatever business or service that front line is in.

I think it's incredible how patient all of our residents have been. I know in my weekly trip to the grocery store to get supplies, everybody is just really trying to follow the rules and really being patient and respectful of each other. That makes it so much easier to be going through these difficult times when you do have to be out.

Of course we were supposed to stay at home, we should stay distant from others but it's also nice to get out for a walk and still see some others and I in particular have been enjoying watching nature from inside these days. The birds are very exciting to me outside. Anything we can do to feel connected to the outdoors when that's not somewhere that we can really be right now.

My family has a business in the hospitality sector and in hospitality, in retail and tourism. These businesses are being really challenged and many people are, but it's really, really devastating and it's important to do what we can to support our local businesses in whatever way that we can. People in retail and services and hospitality and tourism, they need our support and we need our good thoughts.

In addition to that there's all those people in the arts and culture industries, people in the music industry, visual artists and other artists in our community. Please don't forget about them. They're trying really hard to give us some support through what people are doing online and keeping us connected to art, which is so important.

Mr. Mayor, you mentioned having a committee-of-the-whole meeting for our next council meeting, and I'm trying to focus on the future. We can't do anything about what's happening right now. We have to do what we need to do and you have to look after each other but I would certainly be excited about the opportunity to talk about what do we do next.

What do we do to put our community in the best position to recover from this and certainly there are others, potentially your community roundtable might be a source of recovery ideas because I think that while we have to do what we have to do right now, at some time we have to think about what we do next, so that when the time comes, we are ready.

Ward 5 Coun. Corey Gardi (1 minute, 37 seconds)

I'd just like to reiterate off the top most of what other councillors are saying. We are committed to doing what we can to alleviate the economic stress of our residents and our business community.

I'd like to thank specifically Sault Search and Rescue for the work that they're doing in delivering groceries and much-needed items to those people in the community who are unable to get out of their home.

I know that Lisa Bell in [Mayor Provenzano's] office is working with them and trying to add to a complement of volunteers to add to this effort and I'm hopeful that it's being more and more successful as we move forward.

We're as strong as our weakest link. Everyone here has reinforced what public health officials have been telling you.

Please follow all of those rules as we move forward. Stay home as much as you can and I really urge all the business community who are staying open and doing such a great service that they ensure they are doing so in a safe a way as they can for all of our residents.

Thank you to you, Mr. Mayor and all the city staff for what they're doing and I look forward to getting through this over the next coming months.

From what I know of what has been going on behind the scenes in our community, I believe we are as prepared as a community could be for such a pandemic. So my hat's off to everybody involved.

Ward 5 Coun. Matthew Scott (3 minutes, 4 seconds)

I know this is going to sound like a broken record, but I am going to do the same thing about echoing what all the previous councillors have said. It's been great. I do have a list of some things I'm going to say. I'll keep it brief.

I want to start by thanking the front-line health care workers from the hospital to paramedics to long-term care facilities, the home care workers, pharmacists and so many more I'm sure we're forgetting.

Thanks to the employees of the essential businesses: such as the grocery stores, the cashiers, the people who are stocking shelves, the delivery drivers, truckers, the restaurant continuing to do take-out and delivery, everybody involved in keeping our food supply going.

I would also like to thank the local businesses that have adapted beyond expectation in a situation that none of them have ever expected or planned. One such one is OC Hair Bath and Body Co. They have pivoted on this and now they're creating hand sanitizer for health care facilities. I saw recently they're shipping it out west. They're doing a fantastic job of pivoting and supporting the community.

I want to thank the police officers and the firefighters for continuing to protect our community from all of the regular threats, but still having to deal with this virus on top of everything else.

Thank you to the city staff who are working tirelessly to ensure that our city is still operating, supporting the community. This includes public works and transit, I'm glad one of the other councillors mentioned transit specifically because they're very important right now and they're out there continuing to try and get people where they need to be. The CAO, yourself Mr. Mayor, everyone who works for the city, I want to say thank you.

One I haven't heard yet but something that I know because it's close to home for me, one of my best friends he's a nurse at the hospital and his wife is a paramedic so they are out there on the front line day in and day out tackling this. They're the heroes right now.

But I want to thank the families of everybody that I've just mentioned because those people also carry the burden. They feel the weight. They have to worry about their loved ones every day and even themselves when their loved ones are returning home. So I'd like to thank the families.

Very important to the community as a whole to be staying home practising the social distancing as suggested by our public health experts. Those people are important. As Coun. Shoemaker has said, there are lines you can call on mental health. Please reach out.

To everyone who's struggling during this time, we are all in this together. Help out where you can. Call your family. Call your friends, neighbours. The pain is felt throughout Sault Ste. Marie right now. Keep your heads up and we will all get through this.   

Ward 2 Coun. Lisa Vezeau-Allen (4 minutes, 7 seconds)

Obviously I'm not going to say the same list of thank-yous. I'd certainly reiterate what all my fellow colleagues have said.

I really want to focus on two things: the business community, and as a mom of teenagers what my experience has been like during this situation that we find ourselves in right now.

I really want to applaud the collaboration of Tom Vair and his team and bringing together Economic Development Corp., the Chamber of Commerce. I was in on the webinar on April 2 thay expressed business support. MP Terry Sheehan was in as well to explain Canada Emergency Business Account, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the temporary wage subsidy.

All of these can be found on the website, but also please, for local businesses, a lot of these programs include nonprofits as well, please call our new city hotline 705-574-1230. You can also email and the webinars are well publicized on social media and I really encourage business owners, nonprofits to participate in these webinars.

It also just creates a good thing that we are all in this together and a lot of good Q&As that happen through this webinar. So hats off to Tom and his team and thank you.

As a mother of teenagers, that certainly is a challenge. They don't isolate well. Teens are very social and my sons are self-isolating with me. They've not been anywhere other than walked on the trails and really, what I have to say is they hang out with me now on Friday and Saturday nights. We play board games, we watch movies. My food bill is definitely increased, we cook together. My one son is learning German on Duolingo online. There are a lot of things that we can do as parents of teens.

The one thing that we have to do is not let them hang out with their friends. I know it's really, really, really, really hard. My one 15-year-old was like: 'I'm really going crazy.' It's important to communicate with your teen and give them the support knowing that it's not around forever.

And with the homeschooling there are some resources and some financial resources, so through the Ontario government, you have children aged 0 to 12, it's $200 per child and it's called the support for families if you have special needs up to age 21 it's $250 per child. The application is easy. I did it in two minutes. It's Anyone with school-age children, please go to that website, apply, get your $200 or your $250.

Another website for all the parents out there that would help, it's called It has a lot of really great resources. You can tour museums and really we need to take advantage of resources that are out there that are free that keep you in the home.

So stay home, stay safe, don't let your kids have friends over. I know it's hard, but it's hard for all of us and reach out and call people and there's a lot of different ways that we can communicate and socialize without being face-to-face.

Mayor Christian Provenzano (2 minutes, 20 seconds)

I'm not going to repeat or reiterate anything any of you have said. What I'm going to do is just express to the community my confidence as the mayor of the community in the team across the community that's working on this challenge on a day-to-day basis.

It's a challenge unlike anything we've ever seen. We can't understate the contagious nature of this virus – how quickly it can spread and how significant its range is.

People can have very moderate symptoms but people have very dramatic symptoms and can get ill very quickly.

So it's incredibly important that we all listen to Algoma Public Health's advice. And it's incredibly important that if we have symptoms, we self-isolate. If we don't have symptoms, we stay home.

And if you can't stay home, you practise physical distancing.

But you really shouldn't go out unless you have to go out.

And I want to share to the community that the leadership of the community from Algoma Public Health to Sault Area Hospital to Social Services to PUC to our staff here at City Hall led by our CAO are incredibly competent and capable.

As Coun. Bruni pointed out, everybody is working together. It is our primary focus. I think that we will get through this together as a community strongly. We will get through it better.

But we need to all follow the same advice. We need to encourage our family and our friends to follow that advice. And we need to engage people that aren't following the advice. It will have a dramatic effect on our ability to get back to normal.

We are all giving a lot right now. We're all making sacrifices right now. But when you're in a crisis, it's not a matter of rights. It's a matter of responsibilities. We all have a responsibility to ourselves, the people we love in out lives – our family and our friends – and the people across our community that we don't know, to all follow the same set of rules.

We can give ourselves the greatest chance to stay healthy and to stay together through this. I want to thank all of you for offering your comments and I want to thank everybody across the community working on this issue.

I want to assure the community that I'm confident in our ability to deal with it and I believe categorically that we will deal with it well.