COVID: One year On - ‘I have seen at first hand the way the people have united together’ - Mayor Brian Tierney
The last year has been a time of great upheaval and uncertainty where we have all had to adapt to the new norm and make huge sacrifices to keep our loved ones safe. A year down the line and we still aren’t out of the woods yet but we can take great pride in the way we have adapted our lives at home and at work to deal with the current situation.
As Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council I have seen at first hand the positive way the people of this community have united together to show strength and resilience at this difficult time. I am extremely proud of the way in which we have stood together over the past year, made sacrifices and reached out to help one another at their time of need. It hasn’t been easy, unfortunately too many families lost loved ones and my heart goes out to them as they try to cope with their grief and loss. Our NHS workers and all our frontline staff across the public and private sector have done us proud every day providing us with essential services during this emergency. We are indebted to each and every one of them. One of the important things we have learned from the pandemic is the importance of community and nowhere is that more evident than here in Derry and Strabane. The way in which the community and voluntary sectors have worked together tirelessly over the past year distributing food parcels, medicine and offering support, advice and assistance to the most vulnerable and isolated members of our community has to be acknowledged. I have visited communities across the Council area since I became Mayor three months into the pandemic and seen at first hand the extraordinary efforts of people working on the ground to provide that support, it has been phenomenal.
Our business community and those involved in the tourism and hospitality sectors have suffered greatly during the pandemic. Little did they think when they closed their doors in March 2020 that a year on we would still be dealing with the spread of this terrible virus. Thanks to support from Government and the impressive roll out of the vaccination programme we can look forward to better times and the delivery of planned COVID friendly recovery programme that will see people returning to town and city centres to shop and socialise. Key to that will the delivery of works planned to revitalise and regenerate Derry city centre and Strabane town centre that will help businesses trade safely and restore confidence among the public to get back into shops, pubs, restaurants and hotels.
As Mayor I want to thank everyone for adhering to the public health messaging, for staying at home and keeping people safe. Your efforts have saved lives. Now as we move forward it is important that you continue to do your bit by taking your vaccination and continuing to abide by the regulations. By doing this you can help us create a new future. One that we can return to spending time with family and friends, where we can visit our town centre for some shopping or meet a friend for a coffee or a pint. Small steps will make a massive difference and I hope we can all look forward to a brighter and better future in the coming weeks and months.