Let’s Double Down on Physical Distancing and Social Solidarity
I am asking for your patience and vigilance as you follow our public health orders and maintain strong physical distancing and social solidarity.
We continue to see sports teams in parks, large parties in people’s homes and other unwise social gatherings. This is not OK. It jeopardizes the most vulnerable in our community.
We cannot let up on our efforts of keeping a physical distance from each other, but we can unleash our creativity on how we stay socially connected. College students can FaceTime over homework and a coffee break. Neighbors can celebrate happy hour on Zoom. Families can plan Easter egg hunts in the backyard and Skype a story time with grandparents. Send me your ideas on the innovative ways you are keeping in touch (Mayor@cityofmadison.com) and I will share them in a future blog.
Many have been strategizing how they can gather for Passover, Easter and Ramadan. We know how important our religious and cultural practices are and how important it is to connect with our families and friends around holidays, but gatherings of more than 10 are not allowed under the Safer-at-Home order. The goal of the order is to keep people safe and save lives, and we need your help to make that happen.
Keep in mind, you can safely view or listen to almost any form of religious services through television, radio, online video recordings, live streams, or podcasts. Speak to your religious or spiritual leaders to learn about other ways you can practice from your home. Community and faith-based organizations have an important role to play in helping to protect our high-risk populations. You can gather family together virtually over Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook Live, and other similar services. Celebrations will look a little different, but you can still connect and share traditions.
My family enjoyed a very fun virtual Seder the other night. Twelve family members participated and it was delightful to light candles, drink wine, and go through the Haggadah together. I’ve heard of virtual Easter egg hunts and live-streamed church services planned for Easter.
It is important to understand that this is our new normal. We need you to:
Avoid nonessential travel. UW students, we miss you but do not travel back to Madison. Don’t put yourself, your roommates, and Madison at even more risk—stay where you are to save lives.
Stay safer at home. Can you make less frequent essential trips to places like the grocery store and pharmacy? Plan to get what you need in one weekly trip. Travel to the store alone instead of with other people you live with. Order items you need online. Many local businesses are offering curbside pick-up.
Do not gather. We’ve heard of neighborhood block parties or people who are meeting up to walk six feet apart. We understand the need to connect with friends and family, but any gathering is in violation of the order. Do not gather. Do not host parties, even if you’re outside, even if you’re six feet apart. The six feet apart guidance is for people you have to see—like at a grocery store—not a loophole for being able to see people you want to see.
Getting outdoors is great for physical and mental health, but please be safe and follow public health orders.
State parks are closed. City and county parks remain open, but park equipment and sports courts are closed. Go to the park solo or with people in your household. Do not meet up with friends or family, even if you’re six feet apart.
Do not visit a park if it is crowded. If a parking lot is full, that’s a good indicator that it will be hard to maintain physical distancing.
Continue to support local businesses by ordering online, using curbside pickup, and using delivery options.
Essential businesses are continuously adapting to this new normal. They are reconfiguring how they do business to meet our needs and help keep us safe. They deserve our continued support.
Like you, I am eager for the day when we can return to some of our old habits. Here in Wisconsin, we are still in the beginning stages of this pandemic and we don’t yet know when we will be able to ease the restrictions on physical distancing. We will do our very best to keep you informed of our latest thinking on how to be safe and any news on City services.