This letter to the editor was submitted to LebTown. Read our submission policy here.

I am flabbergasted that local officials from my home County of Lebanon have written to tell (not ask) Governor Wolf that our county will “open” on May 15.

Read More: Republican elected officials tell Governor they intend to move Lebanon County to “Yellow Phase” on May 15

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In my past visits to a local grocery store, I observed that customers did not seem interested in practicing social distancing. And yesterday in the city of Lebanon, I visited a small retail business open to the public which did not follow mandates for social distancing or masking whatsoever. The two employees I witnessed in this business did not have masks on, and when I questioned one of them about it she merely shrugged. Of the five customers including myself, only one other customer and I had masks on. No one else seemed concerned at all. There were no markings in the business to guide people to keep six feet from each other. And no surprise, besides me no one made any attempts to stay away from each other, and one elderly woman (with no mask) even stood right next to one of those employees at a register while writing a check. I thought that was incredible as the elderly are at such high risk to be infected with the coronavirus (and possibly pass it on if living in a retirement community). I will not be visiting this business (a former favorite of mine) again any time soon without it taking better precautions for customer safety.

In Myerstown where I live, I have observed that most people do not wear masks when visiting our post office. We now have 76 people in our zip code who have tested positive for the coronavirus – a large number considering Myerstown is a small town. In the development where I reside, more people are taking walks now than ever, and many are in groups not practicing social distancing. Last Saturday, a neighbor not far from me held a gathering with numerous people (without masks) in their backyard – why? To spread the coronavirus? Or perhaps they think they are immune to it? Wearing masks keeps people from spreading the coronavirus, not from getting it. If people really care about others as they so often purport, they should be practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and not hosting gatherings right now.

I see all of these and many more people in Lebanon County who are not taking proper safety measures, so I implore our County officials to not rush lifting lifesaving rules to appease owners of closed businesses and ignorant residents. To further understand, take a look at the facts of the 1918 flu epidemic to see how that went and how the current situation parallels it in so many ways. I think heroes today are people who can be patient. Do it and save lives.

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Sue Naughton
Myerstown, PA

Sue Naughton is a former mutual fund accountant and administrative assistant, and a current homemaker.

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