Responding to COVID-19

16 June 2020

The last time I did a blog was early March, a week before COVID-19 changed everything. By mid-March, the Town had closed its community facilities and cancelled its community events.

When I became Mayor, I could never have imagined that within five months, there would be a global pandemic, unprecedented social and economic restrictions, and I would be swapping a busy round of public engagements for leading our Council in delivering urgent financial relief for the year ahead.

Initially, I focussed on getting as much information as possible about what was happening. Within two weeks, the federal government ordered the closure of pubs, clubs and hotels, and limited indoor and outdoor gatherings. The world ground to a halt. I felt like I was in a daze, unable to comprehend how this could be happening. 

Then came the worry about how long this would last. I focussed on the positives. Moving to a home-based life in isolation would surely have its benefits - I would have more time, I could slow down, save money, tackle my overdue ‘to-do list’, right? Wrong. 

I missed my family and friends. I missed being out in the community. I missed my pilates classes. There was more work, not less. Promises to exercise were regularly broken. The lines between work and rest became blurry. Adjusting to the challenges of endless online meetings day and night became a pain in my neck, quite literally. And my ‘to-do list’…well, it’s still waiting.  

When things happen outside our control, the only thing we can control is how we respond. This is a testing time to be a community leader, but I can’t think of a better time to step up and be a leader. That’s my response. 

Mayor Karen Vernon