Citing the important role Grand Island plays in feeding the world, Mayor Roger Steele again urged members of the public to practice social distancing and leave the house only when necessary.

“Those involved in agriculture and food production are as important to life and health as our police, fire and medical providers,” Steele said in Wednesday’s COVID-19 community update from City Hall. “While other cities can ask office workers to work from home, that is not an option for our workers who must go to their plants and their factories to keep food production going.”

Grand Island workers are at risk because they are necessary and essential, he said.

“That has always been true for Grand Island, and we have always accepted the challenge,” Steele said. “Our resolve to practice social distancing and protect one another must be as great as our noble purpose of providing food for the world.”

Grand Islanders should not closely associate, he said.

“If you’re socializing on a golf course and not practicing social distancing, you may spread the virus to our workforce and damage our ability to provide food for the world,” Steele said. “If you do not feel well and you go to the grocery store, you may spread the virus to our essential grocery store workforce. No one can predict who will get COVID-19. That is why it is important to protect ourselves, so that we can protect others.

“Our city is essential. Our purpose is noble. With that honor comes great responsibility. We must not let one another down,” he said. “Practice social distancing, and only take trips that are essential.”

Teresa Anderson of the Central District Health Department, who normally speaks at the COVID-19 updates, was not able to attend Wednesday’s briefing.

Steele, though, did give a brief health update. The number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the three-county area is 86. The district’s two deaths related to coronavirus occurred in Hall County.

Grand Island takes pride in knowing that many of the city’s laborers do work that is “necessary for the nation’s economic and national security,” Steele said.

“Grand Island is a city that is connected to the agricultural heartland of Nebraska. We depend on men and women in agriculture, and they depend on us,” he said.

“We cannot let them or our nation down. Grand Island stands on the front line in the fight against COVID-19 because we have many people employed in necessary jobs of manufacturing, agricultural equipment and food processing.”

PHOTOS: Coronavirus in Nebraska

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