To the editor:

   As we now open our community to more social interaction, we need to take the necessary precautions that we do not infect others or ourselves who may be carriers of the virus while showing no symptoms.

   Over 13,000 people in our state have contracted the virus and nearly 500 have died. The disease is very likely to spread further in our state as we people travel more throughout the region during summer months.

   The choice is not between total isolation or complete return to the way things were before. The issue is how to open our community prudently to reduce the risk of harm.

   This is not a political issue, nor should it become one. This is a health issue. Life at every age is sacred, and we all have moral responsibilities to protect it, especially among the most vulnerable.

   The most vulnerable among us are those of mature age, those with underlying medical conditions, and our children, who we are learning, who may be threatened by spinoffs from the disease.

   The recent editorial by Tim Lyke in the Ripon Commonwealth Press (May 14, 2020) stated it very well: “Central to many religions is the notion of the ‘other.’ Not just any other. Those who are particularly vulnerable: the meek, the poor, the sick — those on the margin.”

   As we risk reopening our businesses and reestablishing the health of our economy, we call upon all — merchants and residents — to comply with the CDC recommendations for safety and health.

  Some merchants in our area are requiring their employees to wear masks, and we ask that all do so and that all merchants require their customers do so as well.

   We ask that all businesses establish disinfecting practices of common spaces for the duration of this pandemic.

   We call upon all residents in our area to wear masks in public places and maintain safe distances to protect others and themselves.

   Those who are taking such precautions in public are not to be ridiculed by those who do not.  We must respect one another.

   These are the only reliable measures to protect life until an effective vaccine is made widely available.

— Joint letter by members of the Ripon Area Ministerial Association

Rev. Jeffrey Dodson, First Congregational Church

Rev. Davies Edasssery, St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church

Rev. Harsha Kotian, Immanuel United Methodist Church

Rev. Sue Sheffer-Meyer, Grace Lutheran Church

Sue Mokler, Grace Lutheran Church

Rev. Kevin Mundell, Our Saviour’s United Church of Christ,  President of RAMA

Rev. Ezgi Saribay Perkins, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

Rev. Karen Gygax-Rodriguez, Federated Church of Green Lake

Rev. Peg Salmela, Chaplain, Hospice Hope of Green Lake

Brian Smith, professor emeritus of religion, Ripon College

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