To the citizens of Ilwaco and Long Beach:

We are living at an unprecedented time in the history the United States and the world. It has been 100 years since a pandemic virus has ravaged this country. To date in our state, nearly 100 people have lost their lives to this virus and another 1,800 have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, also known as covid-19. This virus has spread to almost every county in Washington State. Pacific County has been spared so far and the mayors of Ilwaco, Long Beach, South Bend and Raymond are doing everything they can to keep us safe.

On Sunday, March 22, the Pacific County public health officer took extreme measures to protect us from the virus by ordering all motels, hotels, campgrounds-both public and private closed. These health orders were in addition to the governor's proclamations. Long Beach Mayor Jerry Phillips and I strongly supported the order after a weekend that saw thousand of visitors here on peninsula, just like a normal spring break weekend. Besides Mayor Phillips and I, the Pacific County Commissioners, Pacific County Board of Emergency Management and the County Board of Health all agreed to these restrictions.

Yes, this will make businesses and cities tighten their budget belts and the loss of revenue will hurt everyone and may force us to postpone needed planned construction. But we will endure, we will survive and we will prosper.

All of the counties bordering on the Pacific Ocean have enacted similar proclamations, which means that Clatsop County, Grays Harbor and Pacific counties are in agreement. All the cities in these counties have endorsed these actions. Instead of a single voice and a message, a voice of the multitudes and a clear message — Stay home!

I want to reassure you that the county and the cities are working together to reduce the possibilities of the covid-19 cases. Our EMTs, firefighters and police officers will still respond to your emergencies. We may look like a character from a Hollywood movie dressed in our protective clothing, but we will still come when you call. The lights will stay on and the critical infrastructure of our cities will continue to function and provide you with safe drinking water so you will be able to wash your hands, take a shower and flush your toilets. There is no need to panic!

Our supermarkets are still receiving their shipments of food, cleaning products and even toilet paper. Gasoline, propane and other petroleum products are still available. There is no need hoard a year's worth of toilet paper. You may even look at this incident as a dress rehearsal for the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. Remember, by clearing out the shelves of food products, you are denying others of vital supplies that they may need.

Let me reassure you, again, that your city and county governments are working long hours to keep you safe.

GARY FORNER

Ilwaco Mayor

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