Neighbors’ parties put couple at risk
DEAR AMY » My fiance has asthma. I have reoccurring bronchitis, due to complications from emergency lung surgery. We are both in our late-20s. Because of those pre-existing conditions, we have been taking our state’s stayat-home order seriously. We’re not scared — just cautious. We wear masks when we go out. Otherwise, we are staying in.
We live in a duplex with a shared front yard. Our neighbors are not taking the stay-at-home seriously (they are in their early 20s).
They are still going to friends’ houses every weekend, and (early on) they had co-workers over every night.
Today they threw a party on our front lawn, where people were standing shoulder to shoulder.
I wanted to call the police to break it up but my fiance didn’t want to snitch.
I have been trying to stay away from them, but we do share a few spaces, including the front entrance and basement laundry.
The few times we talked early on, I talked about how the city we live in was spiking in coronavirus cases, and how the first case was only a few blocks from us, but it fell on deaf ears.
At what point should I ask them to take this seriously — for our health? — Sheltering in Wisconsin
DEAR SHELTERING » The point has long passed for you to ask your neighbors to take this crisis seriously. Generally, it is easier to pre-empt negative behavior before it starts, and harder to roll it back — after the fact.
Now that they are partying under your nose, you’ll have to give it a try, and hope for the best.
My understanding is that because “stay-athome” orders are being handled differently in various cities and states, the police might not be interested (or legally able) to bust up a party on your front lawn.
You should take rational and commonsense precautions regarding these very close neighbors. Wipe shared door handles and any other common point of contact (railings, door frames, and the handle of the washer and dryer) with disinfectant before you touch them. Wash your hands frequently.
Communicate with your neighbors: “Hey, we’re your neighbors and have serious health conditions that make us vulnerable to COVID-19. Could you do us a favor and please be more considerate? As you know, the state is discouraging large gatherings. Having people clustered together on the front lawn is too close for our comfort. We hope you understand and can respect this, until we get the all-clear. After that ... party on!”