After technical difficulties on Thursday, City government put on one of the first COVID-19 Virtual Town Halls in the state on Friday – with members from most every City department online to answer questions and nearly 300 people watching from Facebook Live alone.
Hosted by Mayoral Staffer Deanna Deveny, the Virtual Town Hall had a few presentations, but above all things answered questions about everything from street sweeping (which starts today, April 1) to online schooling to when businesses could re-open to what kinds of federal benefits would be available under the CARES Act.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria delivered a heartfelt and stern warning to people to stay away from one another.
“We really need to get the message out there to stay away from each other,” he said, speaking from his home computer. “That is important. It’s been difficult to stay away from my mother and father. It’s been difficult, but I’ve done it because it’s important not to spread this to other people. I have an autoimmune disease too…This could affect me. I’m trying to practice social distancing to protect myself. This could affect me too. We need to make sure we don’t get sick and give this to our families.”
There were many questions about rent payments, and what to do by April 1.
Some wondered about bills paid to the City, and were encouraged to pay online.
Street sweeping was also brought up, a City program that will go forward on April 1.
“I know it’s difficult, but we sweep your streets two times a month from 8 a.m. to noon,” said the mayor. “We don’t want that trash to get into the rivers. There is an environmental impact.”
Chief Steve Mazzie did let everyone know that officers from the Police Department, if called to a home, would request that people come out to the sidewalk or porch. He said they would not be coming into people’s homes for everyone’s protection unless absolutely necessary.