Previous State of the City addresses have seen Marvin Rees and his predecessor George Ferguson deliver some eye catching new policy announcements, from the Western Harbour development to the pedestrianisation if the Old City.
Things are different in 2020, however, with Rees not delivering his speech from a usually packed Wills Memorial Building but instead in front of an audience of only some dozen people in the Watershed, with his speech live-streamed on YouTube.
“This crisis can only be overcome by the city coming together, our citizens and organisations,” said Rees at the conclusion of his speech, which saw him taking on themes including housing, transport, food, education and the environment.
He added: “We must come to terms with the fact that the virus will be part of our lives for the foreseeable future. We must learn to adapt to the new normal, and we will need to design and build Covid-secure environments and learn and adopt Covid-safe behaviours.”
Speaking to Bristol24/7, Rees said that he wanted to use Wednesday evening’s address to thank the city and “recognise people’s pain”.
Rees reiterated his commitment to make Bristol “a city of hope”. “It’s not just about the council, it’s about Bristol,” he said.
“It’s been amazing to see the city come forward and support each other… If people and businesses are willing to come forward and help, please let us know through Can Do Bristol when you’re available and what you can do.
“At the same time, we’ll be directing people as to how we need help within the city.”
Main photo and video by Martin Booth
Read more: Marvin Rees’ State of the City address 2020