An Open Letter from the Mayor

We all want to reopen our community to economic and social activity. A successful reopening depends on containing the virus. As we focus on reopening in smart ways, we need to do it recognizing that we are still in the midst of a health crisis. To be successful, we need to reopen mindful and respectful of all residents and visitors and those who work in our community, particularly those most vulnerable and our healthcare workers and first responders. Actually, the more we learn, the larger this list becomes.

We take pride in our core of independent businesses whether they be commercial, retailers , or restaurants. They don't have the larger corporate backing and structure to help see them through this crisis. From where I see it, that makes them more vulnerable.

Landlord tenant relationships are private and privately negotiated. I have been asked to intercede in some cases because of the extraordinary economic pressures placed on those relationships as a result of the pandemic. Our community is going through terrible economic times and we face a very uncertain economic future. I believe it is in the interests of landlords, as a group, recognizing that particular circumstances are unique, that waiving and negotiating obligations should happen from the perspective of a mix of community good and self-interest. Landlords should be wanting to retain tenants right now as much as possible. The pool of available commercial space will be fairly substantial whenever the new norm settles in.

Some landlords cannot be as generous as others. They face mortgages, taxes, insurance and maintenance. Every sector of the economy is under strain. Each landlord and independent business has a compelling story that breaks my heart and reinforces my deep concern for the vitality of our community. At the most basic level, the crisis should breed sympathy but also flexibility in the rental market.

We are going to need to develop radically different routines. That will require vision and adaptability. For me, it is clear that to be successful in making our community feel safe and be safe for residents and visitors alike, a return to economic and social activity needs to be accompanied by social distancing practices that, while voluntary, are practiced by everyone------residents, restaurants, and shopkeepers alike. That is not easy and it is not being totally practiced even now. We cannot expect people to come to Doylestown if they don't see us engaged in a safe environment.

We are a region of creative people who have a long history of solving challenges in creative ways. I have no doubt that we can bring solutions that meet these challenges and build a stronger town. We are all going to have to work to develop new ways of working together where the virus may lurk in every human interaction. It requires nothing less than a new normal. The power of friendship and cooperation and creativity that has helped establish our success in the past will be the key to our success in the future.

Ron Strouse