Atkinsons’ Market in Ketchum has always been a social gathering place where people can gather in the aisles, share a laugh and talk about their kids.

That time is over. But some of you do not seem to understand that.

Many of you will come in to grab one item: a chicken breast, a six-pack, a bottle of wine. You’ll wander the aisles looking for a single salad or a pizza. Or you will talk to our cashiers, disregarding our silent checkout signs.

I understand people are trying to be sympathetic to one another in this time. But, and this may sound cruel, we need to behave like robots. The little chit-chat has to end. There is no room for “I miss you guys” or “I can’t wait to see you again.” For now, that is what social media are for.

As one of the only places open in the valley, we are germ central. I have to be here, as an employee. You do not. Please be mindful of that. Everything you touch, every piece of produce that you turn over is exposure for our workers.

Is it really worth it, digging a wrinkled, grimy five-dollar bill out of your pocket to pay for a candy bar? Yes, you might want to come in for your one bottle of wine. But is it worth it, exposing employees and other shoppers?

If you can help it, please don’t pay with cash, don’t bring your kids and call in (208-726-5668) your orders. We will deliver. Please help keep us safe as employees. This pandemic is just starting. If we’re going to control this, we need your help.

Susana Valdivia is a checker at Atkinsons’ Market. She lives in Ketchum.

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