St. Petersburg City Council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman has a message for city residents.
Wear a mask to stop the spread of Covid-19, Wheeler-Bowman said Thursday during her first appearance at a council meeting after suffering from the virus. She called the experience “an ordeal.”
“I want to let you know it is very real and it is very scary,” Wheeler-Bowman said. “I know I did not have to come out publicly and say anything but the reason I did it … was because I wanted to bring more awareness to our city that this virus is real.”
She made a plea for people to take steps to protect others.
“I wear a mask to protect you and your family and the residents of our city, and would you please, please wear a mask to protect my family and the residents of our city so that our numbers can go back down and we can get back to a new norm,” she said.
Mayor Rick Kriseman signed an order on June 23 requiring those living, working, visiting or doing business in St. Petersburg to wear face masks when in “public places of assemblage.”
Wheeler-Bowman told the Tampa Bay Times that she started having symptoms of Covid-19 in late June and later tested positive, but now is symptom-free. She said her mother had been hospitalized earlier for the virus, and her grandson also had been sick.
“I wanted to thank everyone who prayed for my family, sent me a text message, took food. I want to thank the staff at St. Anthony’s Hospital in the third floor ICU unit who took care of my mom,” Wheeler-Bowman told City Council members. “I thank you. I missed you. I can’t wait to see you in person, but it will be from a distance.”
Council Chair Ed Montanari said he prayed for Wheeler-Bowman every day and it was great to have her back.
“Leaders lead and followers follow, and you’re a leader,” Montanari said. “Thank you for leading like you do.”
Wheeler-Bowman represents District 7, which includes part of the area west and south of downtown. She was elected to City Council in November 2015 and re-elected last November.