I am deeply disturbed about a recent event that took place at Broulim’s, Driggs. It was brought to my attention that one of the employees had tested positive for the Coronavirus. I was reluctant to go shopping, yet, I decided to proceed since my prior experience was that most employees and customers wore masks and kept social distancing. Of course, not everyone followed the rules as clearly defined by the County and the City. One can see a big poster reminding everyone to wear a mask at the entrance.

Unfortunately, today a lot of employees wore no masks, high school students marched in without masks, no social distancing, and loud voices. When I was asked by an employee how my day went, I mentioned my discomfort and uneasiness with this cavalier attitude towards a real threat, not a hoax, which has changed our lives. The employee shouted at me that they have rights, that they do not have to wear masks or do anything they don’t want! Further I was told that physicians have issued notes for employees not to wear masks. As a Board certified surgeon and Critical Care specialist, I find that statement hard to accept. I walked away looking for the manager, yet, he was not around.

I do understand and I do recognize the dilemmas and the choices we have to make between our individual rights and our societal duties. Getting people infected, exposing vulnerable populations to an aggressive killer, and further straining our economy and health care delivery should not take precedent over our duties as citizens and human beings. As someone in the medical profession who has seen people of all ages being devastated by this disease, I am imploring everyone to respect and protect each other. A supermarket is the perfect incubator for a significant rise in Covid-19 cases with serious consequences for our health care system.

I am humbly requesting support for common sense and accepted measures, sanctioned by the CDC, NIH, and Government which will minimize exposure to this disease.

Jose M. Velasco, MD