Dillon Mayor: Don’t give up hope

Michael L. Klakken
Wednesday, April 22, 2020


Citizens of Dillon, The editor of the Dillon Tribune asked me to give my personal opinion of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Before I talk about my own feelings I want to stress that the official position for the City of Dillon is to follow the Governor’s orders and the guidelines from the President of the United States. At this time, the United States, the State of Montana, Beaverhead County, and the City of Dillon have all declared a “state of emergency” related to the COVID-19 virus and it is my responsibility to see that those orders are followed as closely as possible.

I have tried to continue to have the City accomplish business without endangering city employees. This is a tough time for all but don’t give up hope because this will end sometime soon. We live in the best city in the state and nation. By all of us following the guidelines, Beaverhead County has had only ONE infection (at the time I am writing this) and that person has been quarantined with no bad effects.

The Governor has formed a committee to generate a “reopening” plan which should be out sometime late this week. I have high hopes that most businesses will be allowed to open. Until that time, please try to minimize your exposure to other individuals, wear your masks if needed, wash your hands often, don’t touch your face especially after being around others and help those in need.

Now my personal belief, this COVID-19 process has made me very nervous, cautious and afraid for the future of this country. Our leaders blindly followed information obtained from China and completed a draconian action of issuing orders to keep all non-essential (whatever that word means) workers home and closed a majority of businesses. As more and more data becomes available it looks like it is time to open up areas of our nation.

During the crisis, public officials should work hard to inform the public what is happening and not to send only a very minimal amount of information to the public. That is wrong! I believe that knowledge is important. Many will say because of the actions that were taken, the worst case scenario has been avoided. Some other very knowledgeable people disagree and believe that herd immunity would be best. Only time will tell but we cannot continue to live like this. The United States of America is fundamentally capitalistic and strongly depends on its businesses to keep this country working.

I don’t know if all small businesses in Dillon will be able to recover from this. Without business this country will fail and big! This is not to say that we shouldn’t worry about the Covid-19 virus but it is not the only thing that should be addressed. It is a known fact that mental health is becoming a problem. I read that suicide is increasing. People are afraid to go to the doctor for other health problems and are dying. Families are not able to see each other. People cannot worship where they choose. The list goes on and on.

This crisis has also brought out the best in many people. I see on the TV stories where people opened their hearts and purses to help others. I am angry when I see politicians using this crisis to get pet projects done while people are suffering. Now is the time to put fault blaming aside and work together! There is plenty of time after this is over to play politics. Finally, the national media has proceeded to literary “scare the pants off” everyone. It is hard to tell fact from fiction. This is the time that everyone should work together to make things better no matter what political party you follow.

To all of our leaders, would you please take whatever actions you can and OPEN THE BUSINESSES BACK UP and get our lives back to “normal.” I don’t like the direction some of our elected and appointed officials are taking this country.