Editor, The Messenger,

We, the members of the Athens City Commission on Disabilities, are writing this letter to encourage everyone to follow the CDC Guidelines for keeping our community safe. These are spelled out in https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html and include:

  • Wear a mask or other face covering when around others
  • Wash your hands
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Keep physical distance
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces
  • Monitor your health

Masks, to us, are a visible sign that a person is being mindful about taking precautions and protecting our community. Some people with significant disabilities, such as autism, COPD, asthma, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder may be unable to wear masks. To maintain a healthy community, those who are able must continue to wear masks and follow the other guidelines.

Many of us within the disability community are considered high risk and unable to leave our homes right now. Likewise, many are fearful about letting health providers into our homes since they may be asymptomatic when providing care. When we see people wear masks, we feel acknowledged and know that our community understands that we are in this together. With the U.S. death toll reaching nearly one hundred thousand people, and slow progress with testing, tracing and vaccinations, this is more important than ever.

There are many ways to get masks for free or little cost, including locally from Passion Works (www.passionworks.org). For us, your decision is life or death. As part of the disability community, we appreciate your commitment to value all of our lives and make our community safer.

Sincerely,

The Athens City Commission on Disabilities

Davey McNelly, Chair Berry Dilley

Noah Trembly, Vice-Chair Samorra Dower

Dr. Dianne Bouvier, Secretary Sly Mata

Dr. Carolyn Lewis, Treasurer Dr. Cheryl Prusinski

Robin Brigante Preston Silvey

Scott Dennis Arian Smedley

Rose Dikis Dr. jw Smith

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