As always, we’re here for our communities

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I am writing this column today from home.

Like many of you, our office is closed. However, we are far from closed. All departments are operational remotely. Our reporters are covering your communities as they always have, telling the stories about how COVID-19 is affecting your neighbors, families, small businesses, hospitals, schools and more.

The websites are being updated several times a day and our print editions arrived on schedule to your homes last week, as they will again this week.

Many of our newspapers are older than the Great Depression of the 1930s. None of those newspapers missed an issue during the largest economic collapse in our history. In fact, none missed an issue during the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak. And we will not miss an issue because of COVID-19 either.

We are taking precautions and following the state’s and health department’s guidelines for slowing the spread of the virus. That means when our reporters head out — which they must do to be able to tell you what is happening in your community — they do so with these guidelines in mind, and they make sure to practice social distancing.

Last week, the news staff kept you up-to-date on breaking news stories, but also brought you human interest stories on how teachers and students are transitioning to online learning, the challenges experienced by your local grocery store employees, how area hospitals are preparing for more patients, how churches are keeping their congregations spiritually connected, the virus’ effect on local businesses and its impact on seniors.

These are essential stories to keeping our communities connected.

As you may know, we are a local family-owned business, and like many others, we are experiencing a financial setback. We feel optimistic that we will survive, but it will take ingenuity, determination and the strong commitment we have to ensure our communities are served by the free press, which plays a vital role in keeping residents informed and the government accountable to the people. During this time, we ask you to do what you can to support local businesses like ours and all the others in your community, from restaurants to auto-repair shops.

We have launched What’s Open. It’s on online directory of businesses that are open, soon to be open and those who just don’t want to be forgotten. Business can add themselves for free or highlight themselves for a very low fee. These businesses might have switched to online shopping, take-out, delivery, gift cards, be home-based or might actually still be open for walk-in business. Support them. It also will have a print component starting next week. Just go to our websites for the most up-to-date listings of open businesses and look for the ads next week in your hometown newspaper.

These are tough times. We will persevere. We will be keeping our lights on — just not in the office. Our reporters are working. Please send us your stories ideas, especially those about how COVID-19 is affecting you and how people are helping each other.

And, most importantly, take care of yourself and your families.

Jerry Healey is the president and publisher of Colorado Community Media. He can be reached at jhealey@coloradocommunitymedia.com

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