Coronavirus Shelter-in-Place Request: Sample Letter to Governors

Our leaders need to do everything in their power to to slow the spread of coronavirus. Now.

4 mins read

Dear Governor:

I’m writing today to respectfully ask for two things:

  • Please ignore suggestions from the federal government – specifically President Donald Trump – that may come in the near future to end social distancing measures aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19.
  • Please add to the steps you’ve already taken to encourage social distancing by issuing a shelter-in-place order for North Dakota for a minimum of two weeks. Make it mandatory rather than voluntary.

I’m asking because my hope is you believe in the science and mathematics of this pandemic.

You’ve seen the charts and graphs regarding the exponential increase in coronavirus and COVID-19 cases that will occur in the absence of social distancing. This one (, by MIT Technology Review, is especially enlightening regarding the growth of U.S. cases. One can see clearly what’s been happening over the past three weeks, not to mention how the virus has spread through other countries that are, from an infection timeline standpoint, further along than the United States. We should be learning from their experiences and successful spread-inhibiting tactics.

The point is, we know what’s coming in the absence of more proactive measures.

As I’m sure you’re aware, scientists, immunologists and other medical professionals are warning that, while we might still have the opportunity to “flatten the curve” ( of virus spread, if we don’t take action now there will be thousands of deaths, perhaps hundreds of thousands, that would not have occurred had we done the right thing earlier. 

Earlier is now.

Every person who does not take this pandemic seriously enough — who leaves their home and mingles with others —increases the risk to their own lives, the lives of anyone they come into contact with, and the lives of frontline healthcare workers who will need to care for them and the people they’ve infected.

If leaders like you do not limit social contact to the greatest extent possible, cases will spike, our hospitals will be overwhelmed and the shortage of ventilators and personal protective equipment will further endanger patients and healthcare professionals.

The danger to all U.S. citizens and North Dakotans cannot be overstated. We must all take action.

For individual citizens, taking action means taking no action at all. 

We all need to stay at home. Wait. Bide our time. 

Unfortunately, as we’ve seen from news stories ( and videos ( from around the nation, the sad truth is that some people simply refuse to follow social distancing guidelines on their own.

For you, as governor, taking action means using your power to limit social contact. 

It is not mere hyperbole to say that right now, at this moment, you have an opportunity to save lives. 

Please take it.


Originally posted on IVWords. Re-posted with permission.

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Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV is a husband, father of three, proud Fargoan (N.D.), small business owner, reader, writer and progressive. He's also the founder of the IV Words Blog ( Finally, he's a ginger; ergo the “Red.” Living blue in a deep red state is tough, but somehow, day by day, he gets by.

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