WORDS TO HEED: Valley and State Leaders Offer Thoughts on Living With a Pandemic
We’re in the middle of an unprecedented time of uncertainty, and it’s hard to know who to turn to for frank advice (or, dare we say it, optimism). Here are some words – some practical, inspiring, realistic, and even hopeful words – that we’ve gathered from political, civic, and business leaders in the Chippewa Valley and beyond.
State Rep. Jodi Emerson, D-Eau Claire
“In these uncertain times it’s more important than ever that we look after one another as a community. Eau Claire has many little free libraries around the city, so I would encourage people to clean off their bookshelves and share some books they’ve already read and enjoyed with their neighbors. It allows you to do some spring cleaning, go for a walk, and also share a book with a neighbor. Turn off the news or social media sometimes. It’s easy to get trapped on our screens but we need to be purposeful about taking a break and getting a little physical exercise if we are able.
“If you don’t have kids at home anymore, occasionally send ideas to a friend or two who does have little ones at home. Remember projects you did with your kids (if you have them) or projects you did as a kid. Parents are really stressed right now trying to juggle working at home and helping their kids with school. They might not have the mental energy to find fun things to do.
“If you need help, just ask. Eau Claire has a great track record of helping our neighbors. People are willing to help if you just let them know.
“Also, if you need supplies, utilize smaller stores. The lines are shorter, and it’s good to support local businesses. Additionally, some stores have options where you can order online and pick up a few hours later or even have things delivered for a fee. Check websites or call the store for help.
“This isn’t something that is going to be over in just a few days. We all need to work together to keep each other safe and healthy. Remember to stay home as much as you can. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands. But also remember that we will get through this if we are careful so take a breath. Relax a little. Get outside a bit and enjoy try to enjoy spring.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers
“Social distancing not only protects you and your family from increased exposure to COVID-19, but it protects our healthcare professionals, direct care providers, and others who are on the frontlines serving our communities during this pandemic. We need these workers who are providing essential services to stay healthy so they can continue to care for and serve our state. While I know the COVID-19 outbreak has caused many disruptions to your daily life, your help will go a long way in protecting the health and safety of our state.”
Dale Peters, Eau Claire City Manager
“Our Eau Claire community works together, helps their neighbors, and shares a community pride of a better Eau Claire now and in the future.
“During this public health emergency, it is important to listen to and follow the advice of our health and other public officials and remain calm while preparing our personal and community response. Eau Claire will continue to provide basic city services. We are implementing contingency plans to provide fire, police, water, sewer, 911, and administrative support services while protecting our employees.
“The COVID-19 virus is a health, economic, and social challenge for our community and our country. It is a time to pull together as a community to address and face these difficult days ahead. Help each other out. Reach out to your senior neighbors. Find creative ways to support our economy. Stay positive, active, and healthy. Social isolation can be challenging. Be creative in how we reach out and care for one another. Stay personally connected with neighbors and loved ones even if we must for a time be physically separated. Together, we will get through this.”
Lieske Giese, Director, Eau Claire City-County Health Department:
“I understand this is hard. This is an unprecedented time for our community and the world. And we get that that’s difficult. As a mom and as a nurse, I understand that. We want people to know that really the best thing they can do is take care of themselves and take care of each other. Look out for your neighbors, look out for your friends and talk to them. We can still do that.”
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse
“We’re only going to be as healthy as the closest person next to us. We’ve never been more dependent as a society on the health of one another. And (with) that idea, that type of ‘We’re in this together’ mentality, we can get through this, we can minimize the extent of virus spread in our own community, and the pressure being put on our healthcare system, and hopefully limit the effects of this so people can get back to a sense of normalcy, get back to working, get this economy back on its feet as soon as possible.”
David Minor, President and CEO, Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce
“This is a true test of all of our leadership to ensure that Eau Claire and all of the Chippewa Valley business community can navigate through this challenging time. This too shall pass, and we will be better individuals and businesses because of it."