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A primary message of “stay home” is we’re doing this for all of us, and holding that larger view, each of us is handling it as best we can. Most struggle with the need to get to work or figure out how to survive if work ended, and how hard it is to tread through that COVID world with family responsibilities and looming mortgage or rent, car payment and debts of daily life.

What’s our responsibility toward our community?

“Stay home” is a good time to use the phone and this miracle called the internet contacting local, state and federal elected officials for assistance for everyone who needs it – personal protective equipment, strong cleaning and sanitizing policies, sick leave, health care so people can be tested and treated. Those needs are so obvious, but in many cases unfulfilled.

It’s also important to contact employers, particularly the headquarters, to push them to acknowledge their responsibility to keep employees safe and healthy.

Our county public health and chamber of commerce should be working with businesses not “just” in how to survive, but to assure protection of workers and the public. Some retailers are doing this well and should be commended. Too many are not. Only recently have major stores started requiring that employees be masked, in addition to strict sanitizing and distancing.

Masking should be universal when out in public.

Most of us don’t often ask government or employers for what we need, but that's the purpose of government.

COVID inspires Civics 101 and Advanced Political Science. It’s a good time to relearn how governments work, who represents us, what their function is, and how to get in touch. The huge federal expenditures need to go to small businesses and individuals, not large corporations and billionaires. Let those who represent us know what we need to get through “stay home,” what we need to help our neighbors, and what employers should do to protect the workers who keep us in groceries, dry goods, and, yes, toilet paper.

We’re in this together, but we are in very different boats. What we do now will have an impact on what our world looks like on the other side of COVID.

Carol A. Overland

Red Wing

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