Our country and community entered a slowdown in economic activity to protect our most vulnerable people. I am so proud of the value statement that we collectively made to come together in a time of crisis to value human lives. Tragic and difficult decisions were made, and things have been challenging. In my own family, we lost a beloved family member to cancer with pneumonia complications and didn't have the ability to hold a service. The hardest part about that experience was waiting to reconnect with my husband and mother in-law while we needed to see if they contracted the virus being in and out of the hospital. Luckily they did not, but I can't help but think of the many families who have been hard hit by the pandemic.
The stay-at-home order and social distancing have been stressful, and a major economic hardship for our business owners and those who have lost jobs. We have people losing their savings. We've got tons of stressed-out parents who like me are juggling their jobs with trying to keep their kids engaged in learning at home. Our public health workers, essential grocery and other workers and first responders have been taxed and asked to risk their lives for our collective well-being.
At the same time, our efforts were successful in flattening the curve of COVID cases so that our health system could cope, and lives were saved. We have increased our testing through efforts in the public and private sector, and the governor is issuing a new plan to help us re-open. With no vaccine in sight, we need to cautiously try to open up our businesses while continuing to keep the curve of COVID cases down. As soon as we receive the Governor's guidance, Meridian City Council will have an emergency meeting to move forward, hopefully as early as this Thursday or Friday. Unfortunately, things won't just go back to normal, because we need to take cautious steps not to stop our progress in keeping the virus at a manageable level for our healthcare system.
While we await the Governor's latest direction (order vs. guidance) our local government in Meridian is working hard led by Council President Treg Bernt to coordinate with the Chamber of Commerce opening up our businesses with social distancing practices that will give the businesses and the customers the confidence to get back to business, albeit in new ways. The Reopen Idaho initiative has been a major challenge. I'm getting a lot of calls from businesses who are trying to understand what category they fit into, and the rationale behind the approach which seems inconsistent and frankly unfair at times. I am reminded of the quote: "the best is the enemy of the good" (Voltaire) meaning that we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. This is a time to have grace for our fellow members of our community.
We can't forget while we are venturing out of our homes, that it's still important to protect our most vulnerable and at-risk citizens including our elders, immuno-compromised individuals, and those who have other medical conditions. If you feel sick, please stay home. Gathering in large groups for example, is not a wise decision. We need to keep washing our hands, we need to keep cleaning and disinfecting shared surfaces, we need to keep social distancing and wearing our masks, particularly in public.
I want to thank the people of Meridian for doing their part to protect our community, and to wish everyone good health and success as we re-open our economy and our city.