I have been perplexed to see the influx of people escaping the coronavirus in their urban communities and taking up residence in Mount Shasta. The information coming from Public Health, elected officials and law enforcement are to shelter-in-place and use businesses for essential shopping needs in your home community. The sheriff has asked non-residents to stay home during this crisis.

Recently I have witnessed families of many, from out of town, shopping in the grocery stores and pharmacies. With a family of five or more in our small grocery stores or pharmacies, social distancing is impossible to apply. If the order of essential shopping is to be observed, it would seem that one person could do the shopping for a family. Observing the need for social distancing will help the locals in this small community stay safer. If the stores are crowded with non essential shoppers, the store employees and locals shopping for necessities who are doing there best to obey the orders of our local sheriff and state officials, are in jeopardy. Safety is paramount currently.

Please be respectful of this community by practicing social distancing and other guidelines set by authorities to flatten the curve of this pandemic. Sending one person to the store, spreading out on the local trails so that others can enjoy the paths and social distancing themselves seems logical, but is not currently exercised by the many visitors here now. Please respect the locals who need their jobs and need to stay safe so that we can have stores open for all.

Additionally, the healthcare system in this area is small and has limited resources. If the virus grows here due to an influx to our population from non full time residents, our local medical services will become overwhelmed. This will result in not sufficient bed space or supplies for the locals that may desperately need the help from their community hospital. Our hospital is only set up to serve the town of Mount Shasta and the small communities in this area. Please be respectful of social distancing so that first responders and medical professionals in our community hospital and clinics stay safe and are able to serve local residents who live here year round.

This is our home. We love it here, and any other time, visitors are very welcome. This is not the time to visit friends and family. We all need to obey the rules so that we can be free once again.

Michael Kirwin

Mount Shasta