It has been over three weeks since the “shelter-in-place” directive went into effect and the community has responded amazingly well. Thanks to everyone for stepping up and looking out for each other.
However, I feel compelled to address an important issue. I recently heard about a troubling experience. It was a beautiful Saturday and the Little Rainbow parking lot was packed. When locals asked people where they were from, they received a lot of out-of-town responses. When it was shared that Chaffee County was closed to visitors, many explained that they were invited to visit by residents!
The messaging has been clear and consistent that now is not the time to invite family and/or friends into the County. There will be plenty of time for that later!
While we normally welcome visitors, our present priority must be to safeguard our residents and take measures to keep our medical system from being overrun. We really need to come together on this while still acknowledging that many of us do not like it when the government tells us what we can and cannot do.
It is also natural to be frustrated when we feel other people are not complying. While caution is the order of the day, let’s balance that with the awareness that we may not know everyone’s story.
In times of crisis, human beings have a tendency to harbor fears of others. We will be at our best, however, when we show respect to people – no matter where they come from – and act out of kindness, not fear. I believe we can educate these visitors civilly by communicating why shelter-in-place is important to us and how their travel potentially puts us at risk.
Our city and county have already sustained significant economic and emotional damage, and it is in our own best interest to shorten this storm together. We have businesses facing existential threats and questioning how long they can hold out. We have frontline healthcare professionals at Columbine and HRRMC who are putting themselves in harm’s way to serve their fellow citizens. We have essential workers showing up every day so that we can purchase the necessities we require. Why would we take any action that might prolong the crisis and increase risk to our residents?
We are only as strong as our weakest link! And if you are violating the shelter-in-place directive by inviting friends and family to visit, I plead with you to reconsider. At the same time, I encourage everyone to act out of responsibility to our community, not out of fear. By doing so, it will increase our ability to approach tough conversations from a place of kindness and civility. Please help us to manage our risk and work through these difficult times more quickly.
Mayor Pro Tem Shore
For more information, please contact City Hall at 719-539-4555.