JAMESTOWN — While Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist says public safety is the top concern in dealing with the COVID-19 virus, the economic impacts are always a concern.
“The economic reality of this is always a concern,” Sundquist told WNYNewsNow in a recent interview. “Whenever we have to close down a business or change someone’s livelihood it is a concern.”
Nothing, the Mayor stressed, comes before protecting human life. Admitting there is a fine line, there don’t seem to be any right or wrong answers because this is new to this generation.
“We haven’t seen something like this since 1918,” he said.
A recent meeting of the New York Conference of Mayors Executive Committee has caused several mayors who attended to isolate after there were some positive COVID-19 test results. Sundquist, not being a member of the executive committee, but a member of NYSCOM, did not attend the recent meeting.
Asked what he does to personally avoid possible viral infection, the Mayor said he always wears a mask in public, practices social distancing and avoids shaking hands.
“It’s a hard habit to break but not shaking people’s hands, not out of disrespect to them,” but for safety, he said.
“There are people in the city who have contract COVID-19, we’ve been very open about that,” he said. “We continue to do the things we need to do. The city itself has a city opening plan that we’ve been following since the beginning.”
While many officials have called for a county-by-county plan instead of the regional approach, Sundquist supports being linked in the Western New York Zone.
“The question has been asked many times. The reality is we’ve been put in with Western New York,” Sundquist said. “The numbers we’ve posted with COVID-19 have shown it makes a lot more sense to be in the Western New York region.”
He said the grouping addresses hospital utilization and how many city residents travel to work out of the county.
With Flu season approaching, Sundquist urged residents to get a flu vaccine.
“We have a vaccine people should be getting, but don’t,’ he said. “Even right now, during COVID-19, the chances of the flu coming through actually heightens your chances of getting COVID.”