March 18, 2020
These are uncertain times, to say the least, and we must all turn to each other now and support our neighbors, friends, co-workers, and families.
Seven counties in the Bay Area have issued a “shelter in place” order that is expected to last for at least three weeks. Residents are required to stay at home except for essential needs. Residents are able to go out to buy food other necessities, but I’m urging you not to rush. Stores will remain open and supplies will continue to flow to restock shelves. Representatives of various grocery store chains say there is no shortage of food. Allow time for stores to restock and give priority to seniors while waiting in line. I cannot stress how important it is to be reasonable when you go shopping. Please stop stock piling. Now is not the time to hoard simply because you have seen other people do so. This is leaving shelves bare and some people are struggling to find the food and supplies they need.
I’d also like to remind people to be on the lookout for the WIC symbol on shelves, typically next to the item’s price. WIC stands for “Women, Infants and Children” and is offered to low-income residents. Their benefit cards only allow certain items to be bought. If you see WIC next to an item’s price, please do not buy these items unless you are a WIC recipient. People who use WIC to feed their kids can’t switch to another brand or kind of food. If a store runs out of WIC-approved options, they will go home empty-handed.
Retailers – I call upon you to consider setting a limit when it comes to purchasing necessities, such as water, toilet paper and other basic household items. I also ask that you consider reserving a time, perhaps first thing in the morning from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m., to those shoppers who are at a higher risk of severe illness by COVID-19, which includes older adults and those who have compromised immune systems.
Let’s spark an epidemic of people helping people. Find ways to support each other in extraordinary ways. Lend your resources to help others during the unprecedented time. Consider offering free babysitting or providing cooking and food delivery for the medically vulnerable and older adults.
Small businesses are hurting. Healthcare providers are in the frontlines. How can you help? Buy gift cards directly from local small businesses and send them to your local hospitals and medical facilities as a way to thank them for their service and dedication during these very challenging and stressful times.
Fear might bring out some of our worst instincts, but crises bring out the best in humanity as well.
John “Irish” Goodwin, Mayor
Town of Colma