May 8, 2020

This week, we recognize National Nurses Week and Teacher Appreciation Week. I want to express our city’s gratitude for our nurses who are on the frontlines of this pandemic, saving lives and keeping our community safe and healthy every day. Raleigh’s teachers are also working harder than ever to adapt to digital learning and providing our students with the resources they need to be successful. Thank you for all you do.

The City Council held a virtual meeting this week to move forward on regular city business, receive updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, and allocate relief funding. We held a public hearing on federal CARES Act funding and voted to allocate $1.8 million for rent, mortgage, and utility assistance for households below 50% of the area median income, and $1 million in funding for eviction and homelessness prevention for families below 30% of the area median income.

We also acted on our continued goal of improving community engagement and giving residents more opportunities to have their voices heard. Earlier this year, we took several steps forward to make it easier for the public to be heard at council meetings and significantly increased the window to sign up for public comments at council meetings. We also voted this week to hire Mickey Fearn, a professor at NC State University with an extensive background in community relations and engagement, to begin gathering input from community members to craft a plan for an expanded and accessible system of neighborhood engagement on important city policies and decisions.

I’m also excited to announce that applications for the $1 million Raleigh Small Business Relief Fund that the City Council approved will go live on Monday, May 11th. You can learn more on the Carolina Small Business Development Fund website here. For more information, you can watch a webinar held earlier this week here.

I also want to thank our corporate community for stepping up to help our small businesses. So far we have $310,000 in commitments to match the City’s funding of the Relief Fund from Duke Energy, PNC, Wells Fargo, Biogen, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Capitol Broadcasting Company, First Horizons, Clancy & Theys Construction, Heritage Properties, Martin Marietta, Bank of America and Engineered Tower Solutions. Thank you!

Earlier this week, the Governor announced that our state will move into Phase One beginning today, May 8th, at 5 p.m. Phase One will allow retail businesses to open at 50% capacity only if they are able to introduce social distancing and increased sanitization measures. I support our Governor’s plan – it is thorough and backed by science and data. This is not a “reopening.” The stay-at-home order remains in place, and I ask that you continue to stay at home unless you need to go out for an essential reason. If you do go out, please practice social distancing and wear a face covering to protect yourself and others.  If we all work together, other businesses, including restaurants barber shops, and salons, etc., will be able to re-open sooner.

As we head into Mother’s Day weekend, I want to recognize all of Raleigh’s moms who are wearing more hats than ever during this pandemic – mother, teacher, caretaker, and more. You are all amazing and have my utmost respect.

In the spirit of togetherness this Mother’s Day, I’ve partnered with The Sunday Supper to help raise money for the North Carolina Restaurant Worker’s Relief Fund. For every image of a Mother’s Day meal shared on social media using the hashtags #TogetherAtOneTable and #ReclaimSunday, The Sunday Supper will donate $1 to the Restaurant Worker’s Relief Fund. While we are unable to come together for a large gathering, I hope that you are able to gather with your family or friends with you at home and set 1,000 supper tables to show gratitude.