The COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of abating.

A new variant of the virus has now surfaced and is even more contagious than what we’ve experienced. The post Christmas surge is emerging, and if California is an indication, we are in for a disastrous few months.

Most retail outlets have posted signs requiring those entering to wear masks. These stores employees wear masks to protect both themselves and customers. Invariably, some customers do their shopping maskless. It is understandable that store managers are reluctant to alert customers as to the mask requirement. In these pandemic economic times, profit margins are tight, and the loss of even one customer can’t be risked.

During this pandemic, we must be invested in the well being of others--not only for our own survival but that of our friends and neighbors. The pandemic has proven that we impact one another and need one another more than we have been led to believe. Each of us must accept responsibility for the safety and well being of those around us.

Can’t we all wear masks in public and most particularly in retail settings where contacts with others can’t be avoided? The new more contagious virus means all of us are possibly infectious. Until vaccinations become widespread, is it too much to ask that we don masks to keep both us and others safe and well during this devastating health crisis?

JERRY HANSON

Elkhorn