It seems like Minnesotans are doing a good job of hunkering down, as people are generally following the “Stay At Home” mandate. I know from speaking with various friends that some still believe this is over-hyped while others have over-the-top anxiety about it.
Times of uncertainty and unrest can bring about misinformation. We all are looking for ways to say safe from Covid-19 and want to find glimmers of hope. There are recommendations circulating about things to do to stay healthy, but many are not are proven. We have heard that this virus mostly affects the elderly and immune compromised people, yet we are hearing reports of young, healthy people becoming severely ill and even dying. We have heard it will disappear with the warm weather, but we won’t know that’s true until it happens. Let’s not rely on our own ideas and beliefs of what makes sense, because none of this makes sense. Let’s listen to the experts, and be wary of information that contradicts expert advice.
In these days of physical isolation we are reminded that humans are social beings, and people are finding ways to stay connected while practicing social distancing.
My in-laws in their 70s and my wife have done happy hours with friends using the Zoom app. My daughter has been up way too late at night on Houseparty, which seems to be the platform of choice for teenagers to video chat with groups of friends. Here at Press Publications, we’ve used a variety of services to do conference calls, webinars and video chats so that people can work from home. The next month and beyond is going to be really difficult for all of us, but there are ways to make it bearable. We all need to do the right thing for our community. Let’s knock this out at home and help keep our community safe.
According to many reports small business makes up more than 90% of all employers. I’ve spoken with numerous local business owners in the past week, and we are all feeling a rising tension. Many local businesses and organizations have been ordered to close through the first week of May. Among those considered “essential” and therefore still open, many are operating with a skeleton workforce or staff working remotely. While the federal stimulus package and state-level relief efforts may be helpful to some, I fear we will lose many local businesses and local jobs by the time this is over.
Families are also tightening up their household budgets as they worry about jobs and the stock market. I know mine has, but we are still trying to put some dollars back into the community in strategic ways. This includes spending at our local grocery store, and ordering take out 1-2 times a week at our favorite local restaurants. We are also continuing to give to the local church and organizations we care about. It seems if we all do our part to help our local economy, even in small ways, we can help the community institutions we love will be here after the pandemic.
Press Publications is among the local small businesses that needs your help more than ever. We are one of very few newspapers utilizing a voluntary subscription model—most “free” papers have had to move to subscriptions to stay alive. If you are an online news junkie, then you know most digital news outlets require a payment after a couple of page views or to access the stories you really want to read. It’s the only way newspapers can stay in business.
Our goal is to be your best source of community news and information through this pandemic. We don’t anticipate disruptions in service. This month, I ask you, our readers, to support your local newspaper with a subscription. I thank all of our supporters who have been with us through the ups and downs. We will get through this time together.
Carter Johnson is publisher of Press Publications.