Rainier Mayor Bob Shaw didn’t expect to be in the position of addressing the topic of coronavirus to his small community of 2,000 residents or so.
But, as COVID-19 spreads across the state, words of unity can have a way of helping a dire situation.
Shaw published a letter on Monday addressing the topic, but he also detailed a personal impact from the virus.
“We are in uncharted territory as nothing like this has ever happened before,” he wrote. “It was just a week ago that this became a reality for me personally. I lost a good friend/work colleague within a matter of seven days. He went from visiting with his grandkids to being sedated on a ventilator and sadly he lost his fight with this virus.”
Last week, the City of Rainier closed its doors to the general public and implemented additional measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In Shaw’s letter to the public, he addressed the city’s efforts to help slow the rise in cases regionally. He announced the cancellation of all city council meetings, planning commission meetings and arts commission meetings.
“We still want to be able to serve the citizens of Rainier so the city employees will still be available by phone. Any payments can be put in the mail slot in the door,” Shaw wrote. “If you see our public works employees out and about, please give them the courtesy of social distancing as they are a vital part in keeping our community running in so many different ways.”
Additionally, all events — including senior classes, programs and activities that the city plays host to — have been canceled.
The mayor has not declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus.
As of Monday, Thurston County had confirmed 11 cases of COVID-19 and no deaths. Statewide, the Department of Health has confirmed about 2,000 cases of the virus.
In the letter, Shaw also encouraged good hygiene and sanitation measures, social distancing practices of 6 feet and self-isolation in the case of symptoms. He has discouraged large gatherings.
“Please understand that if we successfully adopt the strategy above, we will contribute to ‘flatten the curve,” he wrote. “We are in this together and will hopefully come out stronger than ever.”