Statement from Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby
As we embark on our fifth week of Olympia’s COVID-19 state of emergency, it is time to acknowledge our shared sacrifice and update you on current and future responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

First off, I want to thank our residents for showing grit and resiliency as we grapple with one of the most significant public health threats in a century. Our collective economic and personal sacrifices have been intense, and the stress of social distancing can be overwhelming. The recent protests on the Capitol Campus are an example of people’s frustration blowing up in ways that risk spreading the virus in our community and beyond and undoing what we’ve all been sacrificing for these last weeks.I wish I could answer the questions you have regarding when we can “turn the switch back on,” but unfortunately everyone’s crystal balls have been shattered in the last two months.

What I do know is that complying with the State of Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” directive is the surest way to make an impact. The State of Washington is being held high as an example of how to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are seeing glimmers of hope that should soon allow us to SLOWLY dial up our most cherished and necessary activities. It’s important to mindfully roll out what this “new normal” will look like, so we don’t make ourselves vulnerable to outbreak again.

In the meantime, the City of Olympia Council Members and Administrative Staff are working hard to ensure we keep our essential services running while also planning for unprecedented short falls in revenue. Just like your household may look and operate differently as society opens back up, city operations may look different as well. We have an opportunity to take this pause and learn what does or does not work for us anymore.

Stay tuned for information on plans for a series of virtual community conversations on what a healthy, sustainable, resilient community looks like in the post COVID-19 era. We’ve done a lot of work in these areas before, but we feel it’s important to relook at community priorities through a new recovery lens. Facing a crisis can remind us of the things we value most.

I look forward to working with you and rebuilding a future together,
Cheryl Selby
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