Coronavirus Update from Mayor Radest
Without a doubt, we are experiencing the biggest challenge of our generation. For many, our lives have been altered dramatically and we struggle watching loved ones suffer with the COVID-19 virus, often from long distances, with some losing the fight. We are in this together, but we are often alone. Each day Governor Murphy shares chilling updates about the number of positive coronavirus cases and, tragically, the number of New Jerseyans who have died. Social distancing is effective in blunting the full force of COVID-19, but the economic toll so far is enormous. I understand and can relate to how anxious we all are to get back to our normal lives, back to work and school, and for businesses to reopen. Yet, any plan to reopen must be implemented in a manner that preserves public safety and inspires confidence. If we open prematurely, our community could be propelled back into crisis mode and further push our health systems past capacity. None of us want the strict social distancing to be extended and have our economy deepen into a prolonged recession. Now is not the time to reduce our vigilance; I believe we must stay the course for a while longer.
In good and challenging times, Summit residents and business owners have always joined together to assist one another. This crisis is no different. In the midst of the devastating COVID-19 coronavirus, friends and neighbors are working together to keep our community going and bring relief to those who need it. A few examples include the Other Fellow First Foundation that is raising funds for SAGE Eldercare, the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad and three food pantries, including GRACE, Loaves and Fishes and SHIP. Additionally many residents have donated nearly $300,000 to the Sustain Summit Fund that will provide grants to small business owners within the Summit city limits. FLAG, Front Line Appreciation Group, raises funds to purchase food from Summit restaurants and food purveyors and delivers the food to workers at Overlook Medical Center. Some initiatives do not involve fundraising, but rather individual efforts; SHIELD is a group of over 100 volunteers that shop for groceries and prescriptions and deliver them to our elderly and infirm residents. There are also a large group of volunteers sew cloth masks. To learn more about all of these efforts please go to www.cityofsummit.org/coronavirus.
I am very proud to be the Mayor of Summit and I am incredibly grateful for the hard work and dedication of every council member, all city employees and first responders who are working tirelessly to serve the ongoing needs of our community. I know we will get through this, be stronger than ever and better prepared for any future crisis.