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Letter to the Editor: Who is Entitled to Door County?

We wonder: Who is entitled to return and reside in their Door County home during this challenging time? 

A DC resident who wintered in her Florida home? A DC resident who traveled to Mardi Gras or anywhere else outside the county in the recent past? Descendants of the founders of DC or families that have come up for multiple generations? Those contributors of significant time and money to support our local institutions? The seasonal workers upon whom we rely to support local businesses? A person who’s suffering from a terminal illness and wants to live out his final days in his home here? Children of DC residents escaping the chaos of the cities in which they live? 

These examples lead to another question: Who is entitled to determine entitlement? 

We believe that debating these questions distracts from the real issues. Instead of focusing on the “who,” we should be talking about the “how.” Outlining reasonable behavioral expectations of those who choose to come here would be more productive: self-quarantining for 14 days upon arrival, following all CDC-issued guidance regarding social distancing and other virus-mitigating practices, avoiding other irresponsible acts such as hoarding supplies, and, where reasonable and practical, seeking medical care outside the county. 

We believe that everyone should be able to reside in their own DC home. Focusing on reasonable expectations of our fellow DC residents will result in increased safety for all of us. Further, it will unite rather than unnecessarily divide us, helping to heal the wounds caused by some of the unfortunate but well-meaning rhetoric emanating from the county.

It’s the combination of all of us working together that contributes to the qualities that make Door County so special. Together we will get through this challenging time. 

Paul J. Heim and Julie H. Watkins 

Ephraim, Wisconsin, and Houston, Texas