By Mayor Brian M. Arrigo
The Easter Bunny joined our team this past Saturday, touring the City and bringing a much-needed dose of happiness to homebound families and residents who waived from their windows and porches.
While the Easter Bunny was probably the most prominent and popular personality to enlist in our city’s battle against Covid-19, I can tell you without hesitation that the Easter Bunny is but one of an awe-inspiring group of individuals who have mobilized to make sure that the people of Revere are not alone in confronting the most daunting task in our lifetimes.
Back in February, when the general public still viewed “Covid-19” as an abstract peril looming somewhere in the future, we established a Covid-19 Emergency Response Team to manage the City’s actions. Everyone anticipated a challenge. Everyone knew we were headed into unknown territory. No one stepped away from the task.
Six weeks into the crisis, and facing what may be the most frightening stretch of virus-related hardship over the next week or so, our Emergency Response Team has worked tirelessly to guide Revere through the multitude of hazards that now dominate our lives.
I hesitate to name the individuals who have given of themselves, for it would be inevitable that I would inadvertently omit a key contributor. But I want to share with the public what I am seeing every day.
Dozens of city employees steered from their usual routines and managing, instead, a wide range of critical functions to make sure that our city’s businesses, people, and operations continue to function smoothly amid the confusion and mystery of Covid-19.
Administrative staff who ordinarily attend to the necessary paperwork and procedures of municipal administrative infrastructure have become Supply Co-ordinators, hunting down and indexing the city’s stock of vital Personal Protective Equipment.
School nurses, accustomed to the maladies and misfortunes of our students, have become medical detectives maintaining crucial communication with Covid-19 patients and performing the critical tracing process to figure who an infected resident recently interacted with.
Teachers, shut off from their students and teaching remotely, are spending their free time working at food pantries. Another group of teachers banded together to raise money through a Go Fund Me page that will provide relief to families in need.
Staff in our Recreation and Senior Services Departments have teamed with the City’s Wellness Department to organize and oversee a vast outreach program to make sure that our city’s underserved and vulnerable populations are aware of resources and in contact with municipal services.
Our Health Department has taken on the massive duty of digesting all the information that pours from the state Department of Public Health, applying it to Revere’s needs, developing safety-based Orders, and then enforcing those Orders every day.
In addition, the Health Department has coordinated with the Fire and Police Departments to organize large-scale Covid-19 testing for first responders.
Hundreds of volunteers who are making telephone calls to our senior citizens to check in on their needs and, in some cases, just to provide a few minutes of welcome social contact.
Other volunteers deliver food and necessities to those unable to venture outside for fundamental provisions.
Still other volunteer are working with City staff in setting up and manning food pantries.
School cafeteria workers who have not missed a beat in preparing meals and making sure Revere school students who rely on our school system will continue to be nourished.
Our Economic Development team is assisting businesses that have gone dark during the state-mandated, while also providing guidance to Essential Services businesses that continue to serve the public during the crisis.
Meanwhile, the City’s regular work carries on. City Hall staff are working remotely to maintain all of the municipal operations that we depend on every day and will be indispensable as we emerge from this crisis and start to resume some sense of normalcy. These include or 311 team, Water and Sewer, Department of Public Works, our finance workers in the Treasurer’s, Collectors and Auditing office. Our Election Office is gearing up for the November elections. Our clerk’s office is continuing its vital services to the public. Our IT department is helping keep everyone connected as we rely on unfamiliar technologies to get our work done while we are not in our offices at City Hall. And we can never overstate the value of our First Responders at the Fire Department and Police Departments and our ambulance responders, who are always on the front lines providing aid to all in need, whether the trouble is Covid-19, a traffic accident, a fire, or any other health emergency.
Every person who is taking on a role to fight Covid-19 is risking their own life and safety because, by the very nature of their service, they are not at home. They are out, acting selflessly and helping others. They represent the best that Revere has to offer, and they personify the strength and nature that is “Revere.”
It’s easy enough to say “Thank You” to every one of them. It’s even more important to help protect them.
How best to thank them? Help keep them safe. Make their job easier. Please, Stay home, and let’s continue to work together to get through the challenge of our times.
Brian Arrigo is Mayor of the City of Revere