To the Editor:

Our state has done an excellent job leading us through this unprecedented health crisis. It took a concerted effort by everyone residing in our state. The key to all efforts was based on our state’s empowerment of individuals to exercise personal responsibilities in their actions during the pandemic.

All government officials, starting with Gov. Kristi Noem, through all levels of county and local officials provided leadership in a way that worked best for their constituents. South Dakota businesses quickly and responsibly adapted their business practices to operate in a manner they felt assured their employees and customers a safe environment while they were open. This often entailed curb-side services, delivery services, reduced occupancy, social distancing, plexiglass partitions, and heightened sanitary conditions, just to name a few.

Some businesses never closed but ensured they were always operating responsibly. At the same time, customers were able to exercise their freedom of personal choice which spanned the entire spectrum from sheltering at home to going out into their communities in a responsible manner.

Everyone adapted and they did so remarkably well. No one should be judged on the choices they made. They did what was best for them and were aided by the information widely publicized throughout the past several months. As a result of all actions taken, our state is in a much better position both health-wise and economically than most other states. We should be heralded as a model in our nation.

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No two states are alike and so do not necessarily face the same challenges. Each state must do what is right for their state since a one-size-fits-all approach does not work for everyone.

We believe we could not live in a better state right now to ride out this pandemic. It isn’t over yet, but as a state, we are on the right path to a brighter future and we will come out stronger in the end.

Ron and Karon Bishop, Oacoma; Bill Gray and Sharon Oliveira, Oacoma; Representative Rebecca Reimer, Oacoma; Joel Koskan, Wood; Doug and Judy Knust, Chamberlain; Ron Madison, Chamberlain; Amy Goodman, Chamberlain; Roger and Judy Campbell, Pukwana.