Page 10 - BusinessWest August 3, 2020
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 this time of uncertainty and crisis,” he said while summing things up succinctly, before amending to say ‘most all’ the ideas and projects.
Indeed, there are some things happening, from a new Florence Bank branch at the site of the old Hu Ke Lau on Memorial Avenue to a new restau- rant, Jaad, located downtown. But, as he said, the pandemic has certainly slowed the pace of prog- ress at a time when he thought the downtown, and the city as a whole, were seeing a renaissance of sorts.
“We put guidelines in place that were more strict than what the governor rolled out initially with regard to stores. And other states, and businesses like Walmart, were adopting our rules, our guidance, and our procedures. We acted swiftly, and we saved lives.”
But Vieau, while not exactly welcoming the challenge of COVID-19, is embracing it to some extent and looking upon it as a stern test of his management and leadership capabilities — a trial by extreme fire, if you will.
He noted that he took his first full weekend off since March early last month, and said it felt good to get some rest. But he fully understands that
the future is a very large question mark, and the pandemic certainly isn’t done making life difficult for the residents and lead- ers of the region’s second- largest city.
“We have to remain diligent,” he said, echo- ing the governor when it comes to the pandemic and how the city, the state, and the country, are far from out of the woods. “We have to do every- thing we can to keep this under control.”
For this, the latest installment if its Commu- nity Spotlight series, Busi- nessWest talked at length with the city’s relatively new mayor about life in the age of COVID-19 and how he’s trying to see
his community through to the other side of this crisis.
Numbers Game
At one point in his talk with BusinessWest, Vieau paused and reached for some papers on his desk — the latest reports on the state of the pan- demic in his city.
He didn’t have to consult the paperwork to know the numbers — he had already pretty much committed them to memory — but he did so
      Mayor John Vieau says COVID-19 has put a damper on many of his plans for Chicopee, but he remains optimistic about the city and its future.
   to show just how much data he and others in municipal management have to keep track of, and just how committed he is to understanding everything he can about the spread of the virus on any given day — or moment, for that matter.
“I look at the numbers every day,” he said. “Unfortunately, we’ve had 10 deaths in the city, people with underlying conditions, ages 58 to 100. We have, today, 41 open cases of COVID-19,
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