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Letter: Together we must make it safe

Yesterday, I was at Barnes and Noble in Burnsville. A sign met me as I walked into the entrance. It said, “For the sake of everyone’s safety we require everyone to wear a mask.” Everyone in the store was wearing one, keeping their distance. The Starbucks coffee shop just put back tables and chairs physically distanced. I felt reassured that all of us were working to make it a safe place. A lot of people were coming and going. I enjoyed my Ethiopia coffee; it almost felt like normal.

Is this what we are saying? “Starting tomorrow I will start dumping my garbage in the street gutter — it is my right. Also, tomorrow I will ignore the handicap parking designation — it is my right. The government is forcing my hand, curtailing my freedom. Garbage and handicapped people are not my problem. Just get out of my way.”

This pandemic does not respect this claim of absolute freedom at the expense of others. All of us, I mean all of us must wear masks in enclosed or crowded areas, keep physical distance and wash and/or disinfect our hands. If we don’t do this, then we as a nation will not turn the corner on this pandemic. It will not go away. We will dig the hole deeper. Just observe the people of Texas and Florida. The virus could care less about the cry for freedom. Barnes and Noble is in business because together we make it safe.

Joel B. Erickson

Albert Lea