Mayor's Thanksgiving Remarks: Take Care of Yourself and Others in the Challenging Days Ahead

Samwick Welcomes the CrowdScarsdale Mayor Marc Samwick at the Light the Dale celebration in 2019: This year it will be virtual.The 2020 holiday season is upon us. Like much of 2020, this season will differ in many respects from the traditions that we are accustomed to. Like other years, this holiday season offers us the opportunity to step back and reflect on what matters most to us. In spite of, and perhaps because of, the pandemic that surrounds us, we may take time to reflect on what we are truly grateful for.

In the midst of our reflection, it is important that we remain vigilant, for the virus is making what many public health experts say may be the most difficult stage of the virus before we are able to start receiving vaccines and creating the herd immunity that will change the course of the pandemic, finally, in our favor. The coming months will be challenged by COVID-fatigue and the difficulty of being restricted during the coldest and darkest part of the year.

The stress and anxiety we are facing is enormous. The CDC and State Department of Health have issued suggestions for tending to our mental health during the pandemic.

1. Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counseling or therapy.

2. Project Hope, a collaboration between the State of New York and FEMA, provides a COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline (1-844-863-9314), educational materials, and trusted referrals. Talking to them is free, confidential, and anonymous.

3. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be difficult.

4. Take care of yourself and make time to unwind and to do some other activities you enjoy.

5. Connect with others, including your community- or faith-based organizations. Note that the Scarsdale-Edgemont Family Counseling Service is there to help, too.

Since protocols became clear during and following the first wave of virus infections, Scarsdale residents have been diligent in protecting ourselves from infection. Nevertheless, we have seen a meaningful increase in COVID cases with recent County-wide positivity rates hitting about 5% and Scarsdale having our active case count increase from 9 less than three weeks ago to 38 today. Active cases are those that have been tested positive over the past two weeks.

This recent increase in COVID cases and exposure has impacted Village operations with a number of Village staff testing positive over the past two weeks. We wish them a speedy and complete recovery. We ask that residents recognize that Village Hall and DPW operations are strained by COVID illnesses and quarantine orders. Please be patient and try to conduct business with the Village remotely, to the extent possible.

As we battle this latest phase of the pandemic, please continue to:

• Wear a mask
• Practice social distancing
• Wash and sanitize your hands frequently
• Avoid touching your face
• Stay home when you are not feeling well

Recent virus spread has occurred in smaller groups within private residences, so please adhere to the Governor’s Executive Order to restrict gatherings at private residences to no more than 10 people.

As the seasons change and we spend less time outdoors, our Village restaurants and merchants are facing increasing stresses on their business. Our community has rallied around our Village merchants and restaurants over the summer and fall. Please continue to Shop and Dine the Dale throughout the winter months. We want to support our business community so that we may have a vibrant Village when Spring arrives and we get closer to resumption of our more typical activities.

As we continue to reflect, it is clear that we have had extreme challenges in 2020. We have also witnessed extreme acts of caring, generosity and bravery. Locally, our first responders have risen to the challenges and have tackled issues they never thought they would be asked to face. This Thanksgiving, please share your gratitude with our primary first responders, our Police, Fire and Ambulance Corps. Also, please join me in thanking our Village employees for stepping up in the face of unprecedented risks to make sure that the Village’s essential services continue to be performed. Thank you all.

I would like to highlight one agency at this time, our Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps (SVAC), which has been here for Scarsdale residents throughout the pandemic. SVAC personnel haven’t hesitated to risk their own personnel welfare to protect our health and safety.

SVAC, as its name states, is a volunteer organization – one that provides an extraordinary level of service to Village residents every hour of every day.

Now, SVAC needs our help.

Without our generous contributions, we would have to rely on a commercial ambulance service, which would not only result in a reduced level of care for Scarsdale community members, but also increased cost to Scarsdale taxpayers.

Please join me in donating to SVAC today.

We wish you a safe, happy and healthy Thanksgiving and holiday season.