Reports from Mayors and Local Leaders
The COVID-19 crisis affects all of us. It also confirms our conviction that it is crucial to stand together and not only live in but live as a community. Showing support, solidarity and efforts to strengthen social cohesion are more important than ever to overcome this crisis.
Throughout the past few weeks, we have been gathering videos and reports from mayors from the NOW Mayors’ Network. Please take a look at our Social Media channels and #mayorsmanageCOVID to see what mayors and local leaders from Northern Europe to the Middle East are doing to contain the pandemic in their communities.
Isabella Conti – San Lazzaro di Savena | Italy
Isabella Conti, Mayor of the Municipality of San Lazzaro di Savena, talks about how the COVID-19 crisis is bringing the people closer together. Despite seeing a lot of suffering around her, Conti is also observing solidarity, goodwill and connectedness, saying, “Right now we are telling friends and family how much we love them, how insignificant our last fight was. We are using more kind words, we are more compassionate”.
Moisis Elisaf – Ioannina | Greece
Moisis Elisaf, Mayor of Ioannina (Greece), notes the importance of direct exchange between mayors during this crisis and appeals to the sense of responsibility of each citizen, saying: “Today we must all survive and save as many human lives as possible. It is the time of individual responsibility. We have to keep our hospitals, which are the sacred institutions of every city, standing”.
Qendron Kastrati – Kamenica | Kosovo
Qendron Kastrati, Mayor of Kamenica (Kosovo), discusses the measures already taken in his municipality, such as closures, and highlights the biggest challenge Kamenica is facing: the lack of healthcare supplies. Nonetheless, Kastrati honours the helpful and altruistic citizens, organisations, and businesses of Kamenica that have offered their support in tackling this “unprecedented public health challenge”.
Hassan Al-Rhaibeh – Umm al-Jimal | Jordan
Hassan Al-Rhaibeh, Mayor of Umm al-Jimal (Jordan), describes the preventative measures taken by the Jordanian government and stresses that everyone needs to pull together and “stay home, stay safe”.
Antonino Castorina – Reggio Calabria | Italy
Antonino Castorina, Metropolitan Councillor of Reggio Calabria (Italy), warns the rest of Europe not to underestimate the virus. Castorina emphasises that it is vital for all institutions and mayors to “act now, act together, for the future of the planet”.
José Manuel Ribeiro – Valongo | Portugal
Portuguese Mayor José Manuel Ribeiro shares his experiences and insights while dealing with the current public health crisis: he addresses the solidarity he sees within his municipality, from people volunteering to various organisations offering their services. Ribeiro further calls on his colleagues to pull together, arguing that mayors “have to build networks to tackle the crisis.”
Jürgen Czernohorszky – Vienna | Austria
Vienna Executive City Councillor for Education, Integration, Youth and Personnel Jürgen Czernohorszky discusses the importance of closing non-essential businesses, aid packages provided by the government, and supporting distinct groups in different ways, for example, by providing online learning materials for children.
Gianluca Gaetano – San Ferdinando | Italy
Gianluca Gaetano, Deputy Mayor of San Ferdinando (Italy), discusses the measures taken in his municipality, which, among others, includes a creative initiative for young people that aims to “connect them and create a deep sense of community” in this uncertain and often alarming time.
Mohamad Saadie – Dannieh | Lebanon
Mohamad Saadieh, President of the Union of Dannieh Municipalities, explains that the NOW Mayors’ Network will stay operative and fight against COVID-19 together and emphasises that it is crucial to stay at home in order to protect your loved ones.
Merhej Najem – Habbariyeh | Lebanon
Merhej Najem, Advisor to the Mayor of Habbariyeh (Lebanon), discusses the mainly preventative measures his municipality has taken, such as disinfecting public spaces and organising volunteers who provide food for people isolated at home.
Roman Götzmann – Waldkirch | Germany
German Mayor Roman Götzmann talks solidarity in a time where ‘physical distancing’ is crucial and levels of anxiety are high. “Waldkirch hält zusammen – Waldkirch stands together” will be the town’s motto in the coming days and weeks.