United in Isolation
Mayor Benjamin’s Message of Hope to the Citizens of Columbia
As citizens of Columbia, as South Carolinians, and as Americans, we have all been asked – with very little advance warning – to make swift and dramatic changes to our lives. Efforts to minimize the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 and to reduce the risk of spreading the contagion have required us to change the very fabric of how we live and work together.
Watching the people of Columbia respond – selflessly and in the interest of the greater good – to this crisis has been nothing short of inspiring. Much was asked of our citizens and was asked very suddenly. Seemingly overnight, we changed almost every aspect of our daily lives, from the way we work, go to school, meet, worship, buy our daily necessities, socialize – down to the most basic ways that we interact with each other. We did so because there was a City-wide, unified understanding that these changes were necessary in order to protect as many people as possible from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
There are not enough words of appreciation for the front-line hospital workers, healthcare professionals, and first responders who have evidenced tremendous courage in their treatment of the overwhelming number of people affected by this deadly virus – even at the risk of contracting the illness themselves. Equally, our City’s public safety officers have shown enormous compassion and diplomacy in their enforcement of the curfew, stay-at-home mandate, and business closures.
We have faced adversity and difficulty before. We have endured the disruption of our regular lives. To overcome this disease, we have united as One Columbia, in purpose and spirit, if not necessarily in physical togetherness, to do so again.
After spending so many weeks united in our isolation, I look across our Columbia communities and find faith and great encouragement in the goodness of the people of our City and the surrounding Midlands area.
There will be a return to business, to enjoying togetherness in our restaurants, shopping together, strolling up and down Main Street in support of the best of our local merchants on Saturdays at Soda City Market, and coming together for gatherings of faith, fellowship and family. We will be able to return to these customs that we miss so much because we acted wisely to preserve the health and well-being of our community, because we united to be apart during this global pandemic.
With all of my thanks to our wonderful neighbors and the people of the City of Columbia,
Mayor Steve Benjamin