Dear Editor,

Last week, the BCC chairman wrote of the Covid-19 outbreak, “It is simply an issue we can never put a price or value on above the health of our amazing and unified community. We must protect our elders as fiercely as we will protect our youth and every single resident in between.”

While these laudable sentiments read well, they represented an unnecessary and inconsistent overreach by local authority, harming the morale, economic outlook, and basic freedoms of residents in return for no demonstrable risk reduction in viral transmission.

While Chairman Quinn worried that “our ability to manage and serve will cause our limited resources to quickly become strained and our medical system to be burdened,” the implementation of would-be preventive measures was inconsistent and – at best – ineffectual.

While taxpaying residents have been harassed and threatened with citation by local law enforcement on the beach, the at-risk populations of retirees and those with significant underlying medical conditions have recently frequented the golf course, public parks, and tennis/pickleball courts. Somehow a couple which shares a home is deemed a public health risk walking on the beach or at the boat ramp, while that same couple walking together several hundred yards away on a bike path is perfectly safe.

The well-meant initiative in closing the beaches to local, taxpaying residents was unnecessarily restrictive, punitive to locals, and arrogant in its implementation.

Like the Chairman I wish all citizens of our town and county well, and look to support their safety. The best balance is for those at-risk or their families, to take responsibility for their own safety and allow the majority to continue with their daily lives in a considerate and safe manner, rather than amplifying the discomfort of these trying times.

The beaches should be opened immediately to all locals in small groups without further delay, or threat.

Patrick Conrad

Port Saint Joe