To the Editor:

(Written as an open letter to Ripon’s elected officials) To my elected officials: As our elected leaders, you hold the key to making Ripon residents less vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. Please enact an ordinance that will require people to wear masks and to social distance indoors at public places and outdoors where large groups gather in Ripon.

As a member of a vulnerable group, who is active in the community, I feel that I should not have to face higher risk because others fail to wear masks in our stores and other public places. Those people without masks infringe on my rights.

I feel most strongly that City Hall should require all employees and elected officials who interact with the public to wear masks!

When I go to City Hall, I feel that I am being asked to take unnecessary risk. I am disenfranchised when I am required to take this unnecessary risk to attend City Council and City Commission meetings.

I am disenfranchised when I cannot serve as a poll worker because city employees and other poll workers are not required to wear masks. Elected city officials who do not wear masks are not only showing poor leadership, but they are exhibiting cavalier disregard for the health and wellbeing of their constituents.

(Thank you Mayor Grant and Councilwoman Schatzinger for doing the right thing!)

As we anticipate the return of our Ripon College students, Ripon will be exposed to people from much wider geographic sources. The college is working hard to establish a COVID-19 responsible community by requiring masks and social distancing. We as a city need to support and reinforce that.

Though Wisconsin is not currently suffering as high an infection rate as Texas, Florida, and Georgia, Wisconsin’s COVID-19 cases are rapidly increasing.

Fond du Lac, Green Lake, and Winnebago counties all have been identified as having a high level of COVID-19 cases.

According to a Wisconsin Public Radio report on Sunday, July 19, the Wisconsin Department of Health reported that, “The latest data from the state Department of Health Services showed 830 new cases of the virus on Sunday, and the average for the past seven days was 838 per day, the highest it’s been.”

Though COVID-19 may not kill everyone who contracts it, we’re learning more every day about how nasty and dangerous it is.

So though we may be fortunate enough have hospital capacity to handle more cases right now, who would want to suffer through this disease if they could avoid it?

Do not wait until Ripon experiences a COVID19 disaster. Masks are the next best thing to a vaccine. Please make Ripon a masked community!

— Judith Neill

617 Hillside Terrace

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