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Page last updated on September 7, 2021 at 1:43 pm

Hello, this is Mayor John Hamilton again. I just wanted to give another update. It's Monday, May 11th. Thanks again to everybody who continues to make our community work well, from city employees of all kinds to volunteers of all kinds, to workers who are making everything happen. Thank you all for continuing. We're seeing continued progress in flattening the curve and getting through this pandemic.

I wanted to give you a few updates today. One of which, this will be an important week in deciding the next steps, which I'll get to shortly. First just a couple of reminders: if you have not filled out your census forms online, by phone, or by mail, please do so. It's so important to have that done for everybody in Monroe County. Thank you for paying attention to that.

Second, voting. June 2nd is the primary, the key date is May 21st, that is the date by which you must have applied to receive an absentee ballot if you want to vote by mail, which everyone is allowed to do this election because of the pandemic, you don't need any particular reason. If you want to vote by mail, you need to request your ballot by May 21st. That's either online, or they have to receive a physical request in the mail by May 21st. So that's coming up next week, and I hope you all will vote. It's important to do so.

Dawn and I and my family got out to Cascades Park, Lower Cascades a couple of times over the last few days. I know the weather's getting better on and off these days exactly, but as you get out, please explore our parks with appropriate physical distancing and mask outdoors, we again ask you to wear a mask anytime you're close to people. Also, continue the physical distancing, continue the personal hygiene of handwashing, and don't go to work if you're sick at all. Thank you for paying attention to that, it really is helping.

So this week coming up, we will, together with the County and the health professionals be making another step in decision, because the extension we made to the 15th, we have to decide what we're doing this week. I wanted to give you an update on how we're thinking about it. So the first thing is we will continue to be driven by the public health data. That includes looking at infection rates as reflected in a few different sources of data, how much infection is happening in our community. It includes making sure our hospitals and healthcare systems are protected, that are not at risk of getting overwhelmed with the surge if it were to happen. It includes assessing the testing capacity that we have, and it includes assessing the contact tracing capacities that we have.

And among all of those things, we'll be looking this week to identify how do we move forward, continuing to protect public safety? And I'll just share from my perspective, there's kind of a couple of key factors that drive this to me. Number one is, public safety is paramount. That's the first job of our government, city government, county government, all of us, to protect public safety. And that is paramount. We will continue to identify how do we assure that we are protecting public safety using the data and the protocols?

A second point I think I would emphasize is, as we move forward and as we evolve, we want to be sure we're approaching it thoughtfully and incrementally. I'm going to be urging that we do not take steps announcing one day what's going to change the next day, but that we have time for people to plan and prepare. Whether you're a business that's going to be opening, a faith community that's going to be changing what you're doing, an individual and changing how you're going to behave, a restaurant, a bar, a retailer, a haircutter, all those things, all those changes need to happen thoughtfully and incrementally, so that we have time to plan, and have time to measure what's happening.

So protecting public safety, number one, moving forward, incrementally and thoughtfully, number two. So pay attention this week, I expect very much that we will be sharing plans for how to move forward as a community. Again, it will be driven by the data, that's what's been true from the beginning and will continue to be true. We've made good progress. We don't want to backslide, but we want to be able to move forward into the summer, and we will continue to do that locally. We're paying attention to what's happening at the state, but we're making sure that whatever we do locally protects our public safety and moves forward thoughtfully.

So again, if you have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to our office, the office of the mayor, online, or by phone. We're open, and we'll be talking to about any city facilities that change in the week ahead. So thanks for all you're doing. We are moving forward well, we're going to get through this. It's a long process. We're in a marathon but just wanted to touch base again. And again, if you have any questions, reach out, I hope you have a good week. Keep taking care of each other, and keep taking care of Bloomington. Thank you very much.