A call for compassion by visitors


To the Editor:

The following is a letter sent to Steve Bernier at Cronig’s.

First and foremost — thank you. Two short words to convey a depth of appreciation and gratitude for how you and your employees have cared for this Island, especially during the COVID crisis. You put so much consideration, time, and effort into ensuring the well-being of everyone connected with Cronig’s Markets. To someone with a suppressed immune system, your dedication is very reassuring.

Which brings me to why I write to you today. Cronig’s is one of the handful of places I feel comfortable going into. As usual for this time of year, there were a lot of out-of-state license plates in the parking lot. Unfortunately, inside the door, a lot, and I mean a lot, of people were completely disregarding your signage, as well as social distancing guidelines. The store was busy, so there was no way the staff could have monitored all the activity. It angered me in part because all your hard work was being ignored, and I felt unsafe. I don’t pretend to know the answer. And perhaps I’m also saddened by what feels like selfish disregard for the safety of others.

I wish visitors could realize that we welcome them … it’s got nothing to do with that. It’s about the fact that this community has worked hard to be safe. We all have made and are continuing to make sacrifices. I get that some want to be on vacation and forget about the hard stuff. But this reality isn’t going away; you can’t just push it out of your mind by ignoring guidelines. I ask that visitors act compassionately and respectfully to all of us who share this Island. If they don’t want to observe guidelines for themselves, then please do it for others.

Again. Thank you for all you are, all you do.

Peace to you.

Susan Desmarais
Oak Bluffs


  1. I’d like to note that in less than 24 hours since I sent this email Cronig’s has taken steps to help this situation. Thank you Steve. I’d love to see public officials do the same. Even better would be everyone observing guidelines.

  2. The depth of appreciation goes to every frontline, essential worker in every market, shop, and business who have risked their own health to continue to bring us safely through this time. I personally like Stop and Shop and how empty the store is at 6AM so those most vulnerable can get in and out quickly with less exposure than during regular hours. Of course, the prices are better at Stop and Shop, but shop where you like as long as all of us, residents and visitors alike, take responsibility for respecting the health and safety of the workers and the other shoppers. Please wear your mask, stay a safe distance away, follow the arrows, shop solo, and don’t dawdle!

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