A Letter from Mayor Gelwicks: Don't Forget the Tip Jar

Editor,

Recently, a friend noted, “It is the 196th day of March!” The pandemic is longer than that today and continues to spread. Wishing it over is not an option. Our challenges are fear, blame and complacency.

No one makes their best decisions when afraid. Fear of infection, unable to make ends meet, and the unknown impact us all. Our health officials in Gunnison County are doing a good job at preventing hospitalizations. Every day we are learning more about the virus. Our efforts in managing interactions, staying six feet away from others, and wearing face coverings are working. Maintaining these efforts is our pathway to the future.

We face risks every day. Risks are not limited to our health. When I bought a drink, I noticed the tip jar was empty. The worker replied, “The tourists left.” Many of our small businesses and workers face difficult circumstances. For our favorite restaurants and stores to survive, they need our purchases.

Blaming everyone and everything makes for entertaining cable talk shows. The virus does not care who you blame, it just continues on. Blame does not solve problems or promote the cooperative action needed to successfully emerge from the pandemic. Gunnison came together to control the 1918 virus. We can do the same in 2020.

Only by respecting each other and working together, will we be stronger, healthy, and economically secure. Use your favorite business’ pick up, take out or delivery services. Go to that business during a time with fewer customers. Restaurants have limited seating. Be considerate, move on, and create opportunities to serve more people. Please use extra caution during the holidays and when traveling. It is difficult to assess the risk when dealing with other areas and people. No one wants the virus as a gift.

Complacency and fatigue are our greatest challenge to conquering the pandemic. With COVID-19 cases increasing throughout Colorado, it will not take much to tip the scales to greater restrictions. More limitations are being imposed elsewhere. The US death toll is greater than the combined population of Montrose, Delta and Mesa counties. If you knew someone who died or had an extended COVID-19 illness, my condolences.

Our public health professionals provided us with standards restraining the pandemic. Those standards work. To continue our recovery, everyone must increase their efforts to comply. The widespread use of a vaccine may take another six months. Safe remedies take time. In the meantime, we must look out for each other. Please follow the public health orders.

Greater distances and shorter stays in crowds combined with cleaning and masks slow the spread of the virus. Compare wearing masks with seat belts. Many times the belts may be unnecessary. When crashes happen, seat belts save lives. Masks lower your exposure to the virus. Fresh air and air filters can also help.

Is ignoring masks and protocols worth greater restrictions on your favorite business? Isn’t collecting partial rent better than no rent? Helping others is the best route for everyone. Those few who take advantage of others during the pandemic only weaken our recovery.

We have a chance to be better than we are, but only if we work together. Be careful out there. Don’t forget the tip jar.                                   

Jim Gelwicks
Mayor, City of Gunnison