The borough of Haines has rallied in its implementation of safety measures for its citizens. Initially, we went beyond the state’s mandates for quarantine and shelter in place. These proactive safety measures are to be commended. We have staved off the pandemic locally thus far.

However, on the COVID 19 teleconference on Tuesday evening, the city manager and Mayor stated that Haines will be continuing with the Haines Highway work this summer. It’s troubling to think that the highway work will mean that workers from many places will be arriving to Haines. They will be arriving at a time in which the pandemic will be escalating in numbers according to modeling. The clinic cannot handle a massive outbreak. Why is the borough supporting the roadwork and not calling for a time-out until the pandemic is over? Or, are there other solutions?

The EOC should require anyone coming to town to work to abide by the 14-day quarantine, just like we all have. Options exist for the best type of employment – local hire.

Bringing in outside workers will put at risk more people such as grocery stores, banks, EMS responders, and SEARHC clinic.

This is a time in which we need to ask ourselves whether the risk is greater than the reward. The risk is importing non-resident people into our community for work that isn’t essential until a time in which the epidemic can be managed.

Anissa Berry