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We are halfway through the eleventh month of 2020! We have experienced eight months of a pandemic causing economic challenges and tremendous social issues. In a time of so many divisions we must continue to find a way to stay together! Our city is depending on it.

In efforts to move toward our “new normal,” we have gotten relaxed in the guidelines put in place to protect us against COVID-19. While washing our hands is nothing unusual, we have struggled with social distancing and wearing masks. It has been complicated to navigate through this process, but it is very necessary for the well being of our citizens.

The most disheartening component to the issues we face is that they seem to be dividing us in a time that we have declared that “we are in this together.” We have been divided on the wearing of face masks even after the governor’s mandate. We have been divided on social distancing during “social” activities. We have been divided on capacity limits in venues in a commitment to maintain scheduled events like birthday parties, graduations and weddings. We have been divided, but there is still time to truly come together!

It appears we are not in the position to remain relaxed when it comes to COVID-19. It has not relaxed at all. As we face the possibilities of new restrictions and guidelines, we must be mindful that decisions are being made to protect us all. We may never fully agree on every decision but is a time for unity. As the mayor of this city, I hear the concerns expressed by citizens on many different levels. Some things can not be compromised, it is right or wrong. Some things will require our compassion, sympathy and empathy. We are all trying to do our best in a situation that has taken many to their worst. Unity is a definite requirement at this point!

On Friday, Governor Hutchinson announced the formation of a task force scheduled to meet this morning. We are faced with our hospitals reaching capacity and decisions must be made on the state level. It is hard to imagine the pressure placed on elected officials to make decisions for the masses. In our efforts to speak for many we must also consider the few. There are exceptions to every rule and although we try our best to think of everything, that is impossible. While it is easy to find fault when decisions made are not easily understood, hopefully we will remember that in all our getting to get an understanding.

I do not possess the power to see into the future. I can not say where we will be as a city, a state or a country at the end of 2020. What I do possess is the faith that continues to assure me that this did not catch God by surprise. What I can say is that we are still in the year of “perfect vision” and what I do know is that we continue to walk by faith and not by sight! Let us all remember that as we lead, we must also follow!

Veronica Smith-Creer is the Mayor of El Dorado. She can be reached at [email protected]

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