We are experiencing unprecedented times as COVID-19 impacts our community. The city of Ketchum has taken numerous actions to address the pandemic, but we have two requests of our community: Slow it down and Do your part.
Slow it down
I urge everyone to consider their actions, exposure risk and contagion risk from the perspective of the larger public health impact of a rapid spread of COVID-19, versus a more gradual spread. Medical resources in Blaine County have a better chance of meeting the needs of our valley if the rate of spread is gradual and not rapid. We all can help slow it down. Our efforts in this regard will save lives.
Slowing it down gives more time to treat the cases we have and more time to ramp up our testing capabilities as well as other areas of preparedness.
We can slow it down by:
- Washing our hands
- Keeping our distance from others
- Covering our cough
- Avoiding group gatherings
We must discourage friends and visitors from coming to town. For a town used to welcoming visitors, that is hard to do, but we must reduce the number of people visiting our area. As well as the threat of introducing infected persons into our area, it will put additional strain on our medical resources. The message is clear: This is not a place for a virus vacation.
Do your part
We are all in this together; we all benefit from taking individual and collective responsibility.
As such, we are encouraging the following:
- Nonessential businesses should limit operations.
- Restaurants should close or restrict to take-out only.
- Shop thoughtfully. Please leave something on the shelves for others.
- Keep your distance but be there to support your neighbor.
- Monitor your health.
- Be kind to those around you—let us know when you have seen an act of kindness with the hashtag #KetchumKind.
City leads by example
We are limited in what we can legally mandate for private businesses. Our approach is to lead by example. As such, we have taken the following steps for our operations and staff:
- Cancelled city events and restricted large gatherings in public spaces.
- Closed all city recreation programs.
- Closed public access to city facilities. People who need to file a permit, pay a bill or seek assistance will be asked to deposit their paperwork in a container outside City Hall.
- Customers will be encouraged to call, email or conduct business on-line.
- All nonpublic safety staff who regularly interact with the public outside of city facilities (community service officers, Parks and Recreation, facility maintenance) will be assigned to office duties.
- For city staff—all out-of-state business travel is cancelled. Employees traveling out of state on personal travel are highly encouraged to cancel their travel plans.
Remember, we are resilient; while it is hard to see right now, I am confident that we will come out of this pandemic stronger and wiser. We will learn what is essential and what is not, we will learn how to prepare better for the future and we will learn not to take anything for granted. Finally, we will learn to celebrate what every day brings, and not what it takes away.
We will get through this and we will remember to support our local restaurants and businesses when we return to normality—for they are suffering and will need our help to get back on their feet. In support of our local businesses, we will be doing all we can to secure federal and state funding.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during these difficult times. We will be placing posters around town to raise awareness and remind everyone of the message to Slow it down and Do your part.
Neil Bradshaw is the mayor of Ketchum.