I am writing this as a request to our community. As on now, Wisconsin has “opened up” by order of the state Supreme Court. The immediate response was people flocking to bars where they shunned their masks and any efforts at social distancing. I understand that people want to get back to normal, but I am making this plea and hope it will be taken seriously.

I am a widow in my 90th year, healthy, active, and independent. I have observed all the safety measures to protect myself and others, and I do shop for groceries and pharmaceutical supplies at our local retailers. However, in the last few weeks, I have noticed that fewer and fewer people were wearing masks and many stopped engaging in social distancing.

Once the stay-at-home rule ended, I went to a local grocery store to pick up some items. I was fearful of the citizen response to “opening up,” and it became readily apparent that I should have been worried. As soon as I drove into the parking lot of the store, I noticed it was fuller than usual. I saw people leaving their cars without masks and sure enough, lots of people shopping without masks or trying to maintain distancing.

My request is this: Please have respect and concern for those of us who are in the higher risk categories. Wear your masks and maintain social distancing in closed areas like grocery stores or pharmacies. We are showing our respect for the elderly, other shoppers and the families they go home to. We are your neighbors, friends, and fellow residents of this beautiful and friendly community and we deserve to feel protected. Please help us to feel secure as we try to also have some normality in our lives.

Barb de Souza

River Falls