“I do not foresee any layoffs,” Mayor Joseph J. Solomon said Wednesday.
Solomon said he doesn’t believe city employees should be concerned with losing their jobs as a result of COVID-19 and that the city has done things to ease worries of both city workers and taxpayers. On Tuesday, the mayor signed an executive order extending tax and utility deadlines.
Payment deadlines for real estate, personal property and motor vehicle taxes have been pushed to May 15. Utility bills are extended until June 1 and sewer assessment fees are now due by June 15.
“There are more important things to worry about,” Solomon said. “What I’d rather see people doing right now is staying at home if they’re able to as they’re quarantined.”
Solomon added that some city employees are working remotely. He also wants to see Warwick students staying home, playing video games, reading, watching movies or spending time with their family during their time away from school. And if they want to talk with friends, they can utilize technology to hang out or talk.
If there is an elderly person who cannot get groceries or other essentials, Solomon said they can call his office and they will try to help as best they can, even getting those items themselves if necessary. He also advised to call City Hall opposed to coming in.
As a way to inform Warwick on the latest information, Mayor Solomon has increased his presence on social media. Since COVID-19 has made its impact in the state, the mayor has opted to produce videos on the latest occurrences in the city. Videos are posted on his Facebook page, Mayor Joe Solomon. They will also be posted on the Warwick Facebook page.
“I’m trying to keep people informed on a daily basis,” Solomon said.
His push for making these videos is to give the people of Warwick the chance to hear what he knows straight from his mouth, not passed around through rumors.
Solomon described how Warwick is working closely with the state government and the Rhode Island Department of Health in his first video.
He’s also looking to help Warwick by promoting its local businesses. Following Governor Gina Raimondo’s orders to shut down all dine-in eating in restaurants, the National Restaurant Association began a campaign titled Carryout Wednesday, a day of the week looking to support restaurants in a time where they cannot make their money off of dine-in service. This is something Solomon is behind fully.
“I hope to be there at one of our great establishments before the day's end,” Solomon said on Wednesday at 11 a.m.
Solomon aims to produce at least one video per day, but could make multiple if he deems necessary. Behind the camera is Press Secretary Emily Martineau, who joined the mayor’s office in January.
“Particularly, with this situation that’s happening right now, it's really important to keep people [informed],” Martineau said.
Solomon said he has been tuning into what’s happening in Rhode Island, other states across the country and at the national level as well to learn their statistics and see how they’re approaching this virus.
“I think that Warwick is faring well and Warwick will fare well through this entire process,” he said.