This is a very difficult and unprecedented time for all of us in Richmond Hill. To use a nautical term we are in “uncharted waters” and it’s “all hands on deck”.
At no other time in my life has it been more obvious that we are all connected. Because of this connectedness each of us has a real and substantive role to play in helping ourselves, the ones we love, and our friends and neighbours, all at the same time.
Now more than ever we need to follow the lead of our Public Health Experts and co-operate with their guidance and orders. Its all hands on deck so lets help those that are helping us focus on the task at hand!
1. Take Care of Yourself. To paraphrase Canada’s Chief Public Officer of Health, Dr. Tam, by taking care of yourself you are taking care of others. Keeping ourselves healthy will help others. We also need to get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, and keep physically active and most importantly wash you hands (your mom was always right – imagine that!), practice physical distancing, and all other directives from public health. (see www.Canada.ca or www.york.ca/covid19 for complete details).
2. Go out Only When Necessary. Avoid non-essential trips. For now shopping is not a social activity. One trip once a week with only one person from the household is best. When you need to go out to get essential supplies be meticulously proactive on all best practices of physical distancing and personal hygiene. (for a reminder of best practices for physical distancing and hygiene visit – https://www.york.ca/COVID19 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uBq_3eaagg&feature=youtu.be
3. Quarantine Yourself if you Have Symptoms of COVID19, or if you belong to a household with a member with COVID-19, or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, or if you just returned to Canada from a trip. Ask someone to get the necessary groceries and supplies that you will need during isolation. Going out while you are in quarantine poses a significant risk to others and it is not helpful toward solving this crisis. (for more info visit www.york.ca/COVID19 or www.canada.ca (if you need to seek medical help for COVID-19 symptoms click here )
4. Stay Connected to Family and Friends via any technological method available (perhaps it’s even a good opportunity to learn a new technology). Reach out if you need help or just want to talk to someone. There are community supports available if needed (a good local Facebook Group that has formed to help others @richmondhillgoodneighbours)
5. Shop Local. This is always important because it is local businesses that quietly support our community in good times and they need our support now. These local businesses are our neighbours and friends and we need them to be here when this is all over. There are local restaurants that have transitioned to “take out” so we have choices for “non contact” delivery to our door. The Richmond Hill Board of Trade has a new website to help you pick a restaurant – perhaps an old favourite or a new favourite. Please visit www.shoplocalrichmondhill.ca
6. Support our First Responders and Medical Professionals. These people are always super heroes but now more than ever they need our kudos and support. Help them by staying home and remaining healthy in order to reduce their burden. You can also reach out to anyone you know working in these fields and say “Thank You”! For more information on how you can specifically help Mackenzie Health Hospital see the section below.
7. Pay Your Property Taxes if You’re Able. Richmond Hill Council recently passed a motion to allow residents and businesses to waive penalties and interest, until January 1, 2021, on tax and water payments that need to be paid past the due date. This initiative will help families struggling to make ends meet during this crisis. However, if you are financially able to pay your taxes on time please do so. Paying on time will help Richmond Hill to provide the important services that we all need and expect, and that will help us all to help those that need it the most. For more information visit www.richmondhill.ca/en/our-services/Property-Tax-Billings.aspx
8. Properly Dispose of Your Waste. Of course this is always important but especially so during this crisis. Please do not flush disposable wipes down the toilet. These wipes do not break down like toilet paper, and as a result they have the potential to clog sewer pipes. (As a Councillor I have learned far more than I ever wanted to know about sewer pipes – please don’t make me learn any more on this subject ☺) Also if you are using masks, wipes, or gloves please dispose of them in the garbage, not in the recycle bin and certainly not on the ground. Also keep in mind that the start of Yard Waste Collection has been delayed by one week to April 21st (Blue Zone) or April 28th (Yellow Zone) so keep your yard waste at the side of your house or in a garage until then. For more information click here .
9. Be Patient and Kind to Your Fellow Citizens. Right now everyone is under stress and we may not all be strong and positive at the same time. If we lean on each other when needed we will compensate for all of our collective moments of weakness. Also, when you are out in the community remember to smile and say “hi” from 2 meters further than you would normally. A smile from a stranger is always a subtle but powerful message for the giver and the receiver.
10. Be positive! We will Get Through This. Negative thoughts and actions will not change the outcome but they will change the journey for others and us. If you find some extra time on your hands try to appreciate the small things in life. It is a difficult time for all of us but there are opportunities to see the world around us differently and perhaps see it better than we did before.
It is important that we stay well informed from sources supplying accurate and constantly updated information. Being informed is always an important responsibility of citizenship but especially now it will help us make the best choices for our community and ourselves. Below are four web sites that will supply all the information you need :
To learn more about what Richmond Hill is doing to help navigate this situation and how you can do your part to help us all, visit www.richmondhill.ca for more detailed information.
Finally, be a proud and positive Richmond Hill resident, a proud Ontarian, and Canadian. This is a national emergency like no other that we have experienced (at least in my life time). During times like this we can all demonstrate our commitment and love for our home by working hard to protect all that we value and hold dear. As always I am here to help and would invite you to feel free to contact me at any time!