By Brian M. Arrigo
Now comes the hard part.
For the past two months, we’ve suffered and sacrificed in countless ways to resist the rampant spread of Covid-19. We had some help staying shuttered at home, as most places were closed and the weather wasn’t all that great.
But as the weather gets nicer, we enter a new battle zone, and this will require greater self-control, continued sacrifice, and more patience.
The Governor’s announcement Monday of a slow and deliberate 4-Phase plan will temper the business closures and stay-at-home requirements. It will ease some of the restraints that have been necessary to prevent Covid-19 from overwhelming our medical community. It will clear the way for some change in our personal routines as people return to work and worship and leisure activity.
But we must grasp one simple fact: Covid-19 has not changed one bit. It remains everywhere around us and rapidly will resume its rampage through our community if we are not careful.
This weekend will be our first big test. Memorial Day is traditionally the start of our New England summer, and inevitably we will want to gather for cookouts and some long-awaited outdoor activity. We can, but we must be careful.
We can enjoy a pleasant Memorial Day weekend while we are careful. Small gatherings of 10 people or less, social distancing, masks, resisting the urge to hug a loved one and high-five a friend—these are the simple but crucial examples of self-discipline that will protect everyone.
Covid-19 already has taken an immense toll in our City. Some 1500 of our neighbors have endured the physical suffering and fear that the disease inflicts. Fifty-eight of our neighbors have died. We continue to see a dozen or so new cases each day, and the fear that the number suddenly could surge again is real.
We cannot be complacent. Complacency is an enemy. Complacency easily will unite with the disease and destroy all the progress, waste all the sacrifice, and undo all the effort that everyone has made to help protect each other.
Throughout our City’s response to the pandemic, we have adhered to the guidelines promoted by the Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control. We will continue to do that. We have adopted the state’s Stay at Home Advisory, which simply means: if you don’t have to leave your home, don’t. You are safer at home. When you go outdoors, utilize the protective measures that will keep you safe.
Since the start of this ordeal, I have boasted that the people of Revere are always ready to fight for a cause, and are accustomed to winning. Today, we are in the fight of our lives, and the consequences literally can be life or death. That is not an exaggeration. I am confident that the people of this City will rise to this challenge fiercely, and will not succumb to indifference or lazy behavior, and we will continue to fight back against Covid-19.
The next three months will be very different than the past three months. In March, April and May, we were told all of what we cannot do. Now, the tide turns. Starting now, we will start to see all that we can do. We will enjoy more opportunities to be outdoors and participate in many of the activities we enjoy.
But danger lurks in those opportunities and those activities. We must not let our guard down. As in any situation where a “DANGER” sign warns us of peril, we can avoid the harm if we are careful.
Let this Memorial Day be a start of a wonderful summer. But remember, there is a DANGER sign in sight. Continue to be careful, and to take care of each other. Self-control, sacrifice, and patience have been effective thus far, and will be our most important allies in this unique summer of 2020.
Brian Arrigo is the Mayor of the City of Revere.