Mayor Travis Schaunaman has been pretty quiet about coronavirus lately, even the disease is surging well past April levels here in Aberdeen just like it is in the rest of our dangerous state. But at least his belief that pandemics are just “the natural order of things” didn’t stop him from joining fifteen other mayors in signing a letter urging every South Dakotan to get serious about stopping coronavirus:
We are writing you with a simple ask, but one that we need everyone to take seriously. We need you to do your part. It is crucial that we are all aware of our behaviors. Wear a mask when physical distancing cannot be maintained, keep your social interactions to small groups, wash your hands frequently, clean frequently touched surfaces often, and stay home if you feel sick. These may seem like small actions, but can make a big different during this current surge we are experiencing in this state.
We are also asking for diligence from our business communities. Consider asking your employees and customers to wear masks, promote physical distancing within your organizations, provide hand sanitizer, follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards of cleaning, conduct daily health checks and allow your employees to stay home if they feel sick [South Dakota Municipal League, open letter from mayors of South Dakota’s sixteen largest cities, via KELO-TV, 2020.10.16].
Thank you, mayors for mentioning masks first. But to paraphrase Vice-President Joe Biden’s discussion of American foreign policy last night, the most powerful leadership is leadership by example. Mayors, will you lead by example and read this letter aloud, on video, on your social media channels, while wearing a mask?