Neighbors help neighbors cope with COVID-19, and its fall-out

“Neighbor helping neighbor” is Lexington’s prescription for COVID-19, Mayor Linda Gorton said today.

“Our citizens are reaching out and helping their neighbors, as we all adjust to the many changes this virus is bringing into our lives,” Gorton said. 

Although there’s nothing the City can do about the loss of the Sweet 16 tournaments, not to mention March Madness, there are a number of steps we can take to help citizens cope with other concerns, Gorton said.

“First, we’re working with the United Way and Blue Grass Community Foundation to establish a Coronavirus Response Fund,” Gorton said. “The virus has economic consequences for many people. This is a way for everyone to help their neighbors.”

Philanthropic agencies, government, and business leaders have gotten together to create the fund. It will provide one-time grants to fund established social service organizations in Central Kentucky that can provide residents with access to food, prescriptions/healthcare, child care, and other basic needs.

Giving is easy. Just go to Citizens can also donate by text at 859-208-2850 or by check. Donate by check: Make checks out to Blue Grass Community Foundation and indicate that your gift should be directed to the Coronavirus Response Fund. Mail checks to: Blue Grass Community Foundation, Attn: Coronavirus Response Fund, 499 E. High Street #112, Lexington, KY 40507.

“The fund is designed to expand our capacity to support individuals and families experiencing hardship as a result of the virus, and related closures and disruptions,” Gorton said. It will complement the work of local public health, non-profit and government agencies.

In another step to help people whose budget may be tight because of Coronavirus, Mayor Gorton said the City is joining Kentucky American Water Company in suspending water shut-offs to homes. “This is another way we can help citizens whose budgets are strapped because of COVID-19,” Gorton said.

Our parks, golf courses and playgrounds will remain open, Gorton said. “Parks are a place to take children outside that’s free and fun,” she said. Citizens are welcome to take sanitizing wipes with them to wipe down playground equipment.

Unfortunately, the city will have to close its community centers. “Our most important way of stopping this virus is social distancing. That’s impossible to maintain with a group in a community center." 

Parks facilities will not be available for rental, for example, neighborhood buildings.

All events hosted or permitted by the City or held in a City facility will be postponed or canceled. For example, baseball leagues will not be able to practice on city fields. 

All closures apply through April 5, when we will reevaluate.

Parks and social services staff will shift their responsibility to helping citizens cope with fall-out from the virus, for example reaching out to our seniors, serve as distribution sites as needed and coordinating and supporting social service agencies.