City workers who are continuing to deliver essential services amid a global pandemic that has brought public life to a standstill are doing the “most important work” of their lives and will eventually have a pivotal role to play in Toronto “coming out the other side of this,” Mayor John Tory says.

Tory made the comments in a four-minute posted to YouTube on Wednesday, in which he thanked city workers for their efforts in keeping Toronto running amid a “”unprecedented” crisis.

“You right now are providing the most important work of your lives. This is an unprecedented situation and the work we are doing now is the most important work we will ever do,” he said. “Thank you for your patience, thank you for understanding, thank you for your integrity and thank you for your devotion to the duty that you have as a public servant.”

Tory said that many of the city’s workers are worried about their own health, the danger potentially posed by their working conditions and, like many in the city, are also worried about “where this whole thing is heading.”

In spite of this, he said they have managed to keep delivering important services, in some cases even taking on “new responsibilities far away from their comfort zones” so that residents can be supported during a time that many of them are being urged to remain in their homes.

“You are needed more than ever and the services that we provide are needed more than ever,” he said.

“I have spoken admiringly in the last few weeks about how the city has responded to the COVID-19 crisis and you know often times when you talk about how the city responds it is as though it is some institution out there that responds on its own to things. But I hope that you understand that when I speak admiringly about the job the city is doing I am really talking about you, each and every one of you.

The city has curtailed some services during the COVID-19 pandemic but things deemed essential like waste collection and the TTC have continued.

Bylaw enforcement officers have also been thrust into an important role as the city has sought to crack down on people improperly accessing recreational amenities and openly flouting physical distancing guidelines.

“It is not just about what we are doing to help people today. It is also about making sure that we position the city and its public services to be able to get back on our feet and rebound to a normal level of service as quickly as possible,” Tory said in the video message.