From the Supervisor: Town met COVID challenge this past year

Bill Smith

We've been at it for a year.

On March 15, 2020, the town of Pittsford’s COVID-19 shutdown plan took effect. Everywhere the pandemic has changed things for us all, right down to the details of daily life. Through it all, Pittsford's residents, our community organizations, our valued municipal partners — especially the school district and the village — and our outstanding town workforce pulled together to carry on under unprecedented circumstances. As a community, we’ve persevered. 

As individuals, we've come to grips with the new reality, and have held ourselves personally responsible to ourselves and others by wearing masks, staying at home in the early days and then keeping appropriate physical distance. As the pandemic progressed, we've worked together to help our neighbors — delivering masks to those in need, holding food drives and coming up with creative and safe ways to recognize milestones, honor achievements, patronize local businesses and gather together to celebrate and encourage our hope for the future.

Here at Town Hall, we adapted town services to accommodate the pandemic's disruptions. Our Family Drive-in Movie Nights and Food Truck Wednesdays replaced some traditional town events whose cancellation we couldn't avoid. Careful planning yielded safe ways to offer programs and events through our library and Spiegel Community Center, as well. As conditions allow, we’ll continue to expand access to facilities, programs, services and events.

Our partner, the village government, adapted successfully, as well. During a year in which businesses everywhere were closing daily, an unprecedented six new businesses opened up in Pittsford Village. Thank you, Mayor Corby, your trustees and your staff.

Our matchless teachers and leaders in our Pittsford Central School District have accomplished the seemingly impossible on a nearly daily basis in keeping schooling going, and safely, throughout the past year. A brilliant example of perseverance and selfless public service in the face of seemingly overwhelming challenges.

With the arrival of vaccines, the situation now gradually changes. Restaurants and businesses can increase their capacity. The president spoke the other day about July 4 as a target for a national reopening, a much-needed and most welcome note of hope and optimism. More people are eligible for vaccination — and are getting vaccinated. It appears we're on the right path. 

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we're still in the tunnel. Make no mistake about it. I cannot emphasize this strongly enough.

Especially as the weather warms, it can be tempting to think we can forget about COVID precautions. We can't. Many folks, probably most at this point, remain unvaccinated. The potential for spreading COVID-19 to those not yet protected is still a real threat. Please remember this. 

Wear your mask when in proximity to others outside of your immediate family. Maintain a safe distance from others when in public. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. According to the CDC, these basic precautions apply whether you've been vaccinated or not. Large public gatherings are still not permitted, according to state guidelines and CDC advice. When you go out for that walk on the Canal Path on a sunny afternoon, please remember that sunshine doesn't stop the virus, so please don't behave as if it does. I promise you, once it's safe to do things normally, my entire town staff and I will be happy to celebrate with you!

For your reference, I’ve put together a timeline of the significant efforts and updates of the past year related to the town’s COVID-19 response (bit.ly/3saW3KI). This barely scratches the surface of all of the work and effort that the town and all in the community have done in the past 12 months as we rose to the occasion, but it will give you a basic overview. 

As we reflect on all that we’ve accomplished together since that day a year ago, we hold in our hearts and in our thoughts all of those who've succumbed to the virus and those whose lives have been forever changed by it.

Again, my thanks to you, all of our community organizations, Mayor Bob Corby and his village team, Superintendent Mike Pero and his team at the school district, and our town team. Working together has brought us this far and will see us to a successful end to this pandemic. In the meantime, keep your distance. Wear your mask. Stay safe. Be well.

Bill Smith is the Pittsford town supervisor. Reach him with comments at bsmith@townofpittsford.org or 585-248-6220.

Supervisor Bill Smith.