Message from the Mayor: Persistence in the face of uncertainty

Updated April 08, 2020

By John B. Allard II
April 8, 2020

While there’s so much we can’t control about this pandemic, we do have control of the most important thing: How we respond as individuals, as a city, and as a community.

It requires an ability to balance many concerns and many roles. I know firsthand the concerns that so many of our small businesses and families are facing. In addition to serving as mayor, I own a small business that has seen a significant drop in revenue with the onset of this crisis.  While a challenge, it also gives me an important perspective as a policy maker. I can assure you our City Council is working closely with our staff and partners in our region to address as many needs as we can.

Our first responders continue to be on the front lines of an evolving and complex situation. We’re following protocols to ensure their health and safety as they support our community’s health and safety. We see the incredible dedication of our healthcare workers, grocery store and pharmacy employees, and other essential functions that support our community’s safety. Thank you all for our dedication and vigilance.

We’re in daily contact with Placer County Public Health to ensure we’re all following guidelines in the best interest of our community. Their modeling shows that cases in Placer County are expected to peak at the end of April. It’s still too early to tell what that means in terms of opening businesses up. Our city facilities are still closed to the public until further notice.

Face coverings

On April 3, Dr. Aimee Sisson, Placer County Public Health Officer, urged the public to wear face coverings as they do errands in public. Please note that the term “face covering” (and not mask) is specific and intentional. Face coverings reduce the risk of an infected person transmitting the virus to another. Masks are reserved for first responders and healthcare personnel.

The City is not distributing face coverings or masks, and particularly not at our police and fire stations. You can see how to make your own face covering and see other data and guidance on Placer County’s COVID-19 website at placer.ca.gov/covid19.

Updates for residents

With the pace of change, a week feels like a month these days, and we’re actively engaged in changes at the local, state, and national levels to assist our city in dealing with the effects of this crisis. We’re sharing information at roseville.ca.us/covid19, which addresses topics we’re hearing a lot about. Be sure to check out the FAQ section.

We’ve had more changes at the City level as well with the goal of keeping our community safe and healthy:

  • Last week, we closed park restrooms, dog parks, tennis and basketball courts, in addition to the playground equipment and picnic shelters that were previously closed. We received a lot of concerns about lack of social distancing in all of those areas and this is another step to ensure our community’s safety.
  • We appreciate that the overwhelming majority of people are safely using our trails, keeping social distancing in mind and how to safely share the trails between cyclists and pedestrians. Take a look at our video on trail etiquette if you’re new to using the trails or need a refresher.

Help for small businesses

Our Economic Development department worked with a panel of bankers, chief financial officers, and utilities and economic development experts from the public and private sectors to review applications from small businesses for zero-interest loans from the City. The City received 400 applications and awarded them to qualified businesses that met the criteria on a first-come, first-served basis. The City set aside $1 million for this business-support initiative and will be making loans this week.

Our staff is also doing webinars in conjunction with the Roseville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Sacramento Economic Council on resources available in Roseville to our businesses. Find the information at roseville.ca.us/businesshelp. It’s also linked from our /covid19 website.

Eviction questions, housing and homelessness assistance

Our Housing Division is disbursing a total of $1.4 million from the Citizens Benefit Fund, the City’s Low and Moderate Income Fund and the federal Community Development Block Grant to our non-profit service providers who help to mitigate homelessness by providing homeless prevention and rapid rehousing.

This is in addition to the Housing Authority’s $5.4 million of annual federal funding that provides rental assistance to more than 700 families in Roseville and Rocklin, many of whom are at risk for homelessness.

People with questions and concerns about evictions and mortgages can see the FAQ on our /covid19 website.

So many ways that Roseville Cares

We’ve received a lot of great information and offers of help from the community. The City set up a Roseville Cares website roseville.ca.us/RosevilleCares that can be accessed through our /covid19 website. It allows non-profits who are offering a service or need volunteer help to provide a service to connect with those in need or able to help. It was the most visited link in our e-newsletter last week.

It’s a testament to our community the way we’ve seen businesses help our first responders. I wanted to personally thank McKesson, Restaurant Depot, Wal-Mart, and Starbucks for their support. We’re so proud to have businesses in our community who truly care.

We posted signs at grocery stores in the city with the help of the Streets Division that have our /covid19 website and information line 916-774-5200. Staff from the City Clerk’s office and throughout the city have been fielding calls from concerned residents and business owners. I appreciate all you’re doing to help our community.

City operations adapting

While our facilities are closed to the public, our work continues. We continue to issue permits and conduct inspections. Our police department has seen a notable drop in property crime over the past two weeks. Although the numbers are down, we encourage residents to remain vigilant about crime prevention. Remember to lock your cars, keep valuables out of sight, and keep an eye on your neighborhood.

As you might expect, commercial waste collection is down and residential waste collection is up. We suspended fare collection on transit routes to lessen interaction between drivers and passengers, who now board at the middle of the bus. We’re working with utility customers on all aspects of how the crisis is affecting them, and are monitoring how this affects our rates. On our roadways, traffic is down significantly and so are traffic accidents

Transparency and public access

We held our first City Council meeting where the public was not in physical attendance, but the public was still able to participate via email, phoning in, and submitting written comments. We also continue to broadcast and livestream our City Council meetings on our YouTube channel, and Comcast 14, Consolidated 73, and AT&T Uverse. We are scheduled to hold our next one on April 15, so look for the agenda on our website (roseville.ca.us/agenda) this weekend to see how you can watch and participate.  

Staying healthy

In conclusion, I want to thank you for adapting so quickly to this change of events in our nation and in our community. This has involved a concerted effort, a lot of changes of plans, and a high degree of adaptability. We know that people in our community are facing various degrees of challenge, and I want to remind you that it’s critical we take care of ourselves and of each other.

The six strategies recommended by California’s surgeon general are mindfulness practices, quality sleep, physical exercise, supportive relationships, mental health care, and balanced nutrition. You can find tips and strategies here: covid19.ca.gov/manage-stress-for-health

We have to focus on making the best of what we do have control over. Many are struggling and our resilience will determine how we emerge from this situation. Many thanks to each and every one of you who are staying home, helping each other, staying connected, and finding ways to support each other.

Together we will get through this!

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