Saturday 16 January 2021
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‘Protect Your Circle” Videos Urge Everyone to Do Their Part


Patti Singer

Orlando Ortíz

Orlando Ortíz

As businesses owners start thinking about when they can reopen, Orlando Ortiz wants to make sure they will be protecting themselves and their customers.

“I started to reach out to some of those businesses that may be opening in the Latino community, and just making sure they are really taking it seriously,” said Ortiz, president of the Puerto Rican Festival Inc.

“It’s not let’s just open up shop and wear your face mask. We have to think about doing things differently. Some of them may have that down. Some maybe are not as up to speed on the ideas. That collaboration, that sharing of ideas is going to be key.”

Ortiz has been sharing the message personally and through the Protect Your Circle media campaign promoted by the city and directed to the Latino and African American communities.

A series of YouTube videos features Ortiz and other community leaders urging their neighbors, family and friends to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by  maintaining a 6-foot distance and, wearing a face covering when that’s not possible, and washing hands as often as possible.

“We need to lead by example, making sure when we’re out and about, we’re practicing these guidelines,” said Ortiz. “Ultimately, our community sees us and they see if were not following what we’re preaching, OK, why are we doing it.?”

Those guidelines remain important as the state starts to reopen the economy, Ortiz said.
“We went through everything is fine, to everything is shut down, and we know that feeling. We don’t want to get complacent and say, ‘OK, it’s back to nomal’ because we’ve seen the far end. We don’t want to go back there.”

The opening will occur in phases:

  • Phase One: some manufacturing and construction, curbside pickup for retail, wholesale trade and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting.
  • Phase Two: professional services, retail, administrative support, real estate / rental and leasing.
  • Phase Three: restaurants / food services.
  • Phase Four: arts / entertainment, recreation and education.

Expect each phase to last at least two weeks – spanning the 14-day incubation period for COVID-19 – before another phase begins. Along the way, regions have to meet criteria for testings, a threshold of new cases and hospital capacity to treat a surge.

Restaurants have been allowed to serve takeout, and some have had only curbside pickup.

Ortiz said he noticed that several Latino restaurants opened May 4. “They were shut down for a few weeks. It’s almost like everybody got together and they opened up the same day.”

Ortiz said he has been going to different restaurants, both to support the owners ad to see how they are adhering to guidelines for safety.

“They have plastic in front of where the food is,” he said. “You can’t reach anywhere. A lot of touchpoints are limited. There are lines on the floor to mark the standing areas. I was very happy to see because I want to be sure we’re sharing the same message.”

As he drives through different neighborhoods, Ortiz said he still sees people congregating but more people are covering their face. The city on May 12 began mailing face mask to each household.

Ortiz said that the more people who wear a face mask in public, the more others will pick up the habit. “It’s the OK thing to do and I’m not the outcast.”

Here is the text of the videos, in Spanish and English:

Enviándoles saludos y junto a la junta del Festival Puertorriqueño Inc. quiero que nos ayudes a apoyar a la comunidad de Rochester durante estos momentos.  Aunque estemos alejados, nuestros corazones nos mantienen más cerca que nunca.  Les pedimos que hagan su parte en mantener su distanciamiento social, lávese las manos lo más frecuente posible, y use mascarillas cuando el distanciamiento social no sea factible.
Sabes que el 2 al 4% de las personas que contraen COVID-19 morirán.  Y que el promedio de nosotros conocemos a 600 personas.  Quiere decir que si tu circulo se infecta, 12 a 24 morirán.  6 pies de distancia por encima, es mejor que 6 pies por debajo.  Esa es la realidad, especialmente en nuestra comunidad Latina.
Así es que les pedimos que haga su parte, protégete a ti y a tu familia, que pronto podemos salir y disfrutar de nuestras vidas, pero saludables.
Protege tu Circulo | Quédate en tu Casa | Salva Vidas
Los invito a que vean y compartan nuestro video de la campaña

Together with the Puerto Rican Festival, Inc. board I ask for your help in support the Rochester community during these times. Even though we are apart, our hearts keep us closer than ever. We ask that you do your part in maintaining your social distance, wash your hands as often as possible, and wear face masks when social distance is not feasible.
You know that 2 to 4% of people who get COVID-19 will die. And that the average of us know 600 people. It means that if your circle becomes infected, 12 to 24 will die. 6 feet above, better than 6 feet below. That is the reality, especially in our Latino community.
So we ask you to do your part, protect yourself and your family so that soon we can go out and enjoy our lives, but healthy.
Protect your Circle | Stay in your House | Save lives
I invite you to watch and share our campaign video