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Dear Editor,

I am sharing my experience with you in the hope that it will inspire continued diligence and caution in our phased reopening plans.

On Wednesday July 1, I drove with a friend to Creede, Colorado (population 290 as of the last census). With the theater closing for the summer, the town’s economy is devastated. We went because a favorite store (Rare Things) sent a flyer announcing their big ‘going out of business sale’, which was already underway.  Upon our arrival, we found the doors locked and a sign posted that they were closed due to COVID-19.

We called the number posted to find out what was happening. The store owners told us that two of their employees had just tested positive, and had possibly exposed other workers.  They also said that 50 people were being tested that very day . The Rare Things owner said that the town was “surging”. That day, Creede was full of out of state tourists, judging from the license plates.  Others stores remained open. Very few people were wearing masks. My friend and I made a quick exit back to Salida.

The only thing we can do to possibly prevent another shutdown here in Chaffee County, is to require masks be worn. We need a legal, enforceable mandate to protect ourselves and those tourists who we depend on to drive our economy.  Moving to the “next phase” to allow large gatherings seems like a recipe for disaster to me. We don’t want to be the next Creede scenario, do we?

I support all that public health is doing to try and keep us safe, but the one thing that has proven to be most effective, according to the experts, is mask wearing. Here in Salida that is not being taken as seriously by the public, as it needs to be. What can be done to change that?

Francie Bomer
Salida, CO