Extraordinary measures during extraordinary times

With each day — with each passing hour, in fact — we’re learning more about how the coronavirus pandemic is transforming our everyday lives into something nearly unrecognizable.

In an effort to prevent our parents, children, friends, neighbors and co-workers from contracting the virus, Washington state residents, along with millions of others across the country, are being called on to curb everyday routines and activities that have long been taken for granted.

It is right to be concerned, we all should be. But it’s more important that we be diligent and that we not succumb to fear. We need to accept that it’s our individual responsibility to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, particularly to the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

Yes, most people — particularly the young and healthy — will recover from the coronavirus. Some, however, will die. That’s the cold truth, and the reason for the significant disruption to all of our lives.

Early on, there was a significant degree of denial that coronavirus would have an impact on our everyday lives. That denial may have slowed our national response. At this point, however, that’s all water under the bridge. What matters now is how seriously each of us sees our role in minimizing the spread of this pandemic.

Through all of this, we all have a choice to make: We can show the very best of ourselves, and work together to get through this crisis, or we can reveal our worst and defy the emergency state and federal limitations, continue to hoard items like toilet paper and disregard the needs of our weakest and most vulnerable neighbors.

Like nearly all businesses in our community, the newspaper is faced with responding to this unprecedented health emergency. As of Tuesday, we have closed our offices in Coupeville and Freeland to the public and directed all of our staff to all work from home for the foreseeable future. While nobody in our offices has been diagnosed with coronavirus, we are dedicated to do our part to keep the infection rate as low as possible. Even more difficult is dealing with the economic realities of this pandemic and reducing some employees’ hours. This measure isn’t taken lightly. It’s a sickening feeling, and it’s done with the goal of returning to full staff as soon as possible.

This is uncharted territory for us, and we’re figuring things out as we go, all while doing our best to keep you informed about local developments. Your newspaper will look familiar, but it may look a little different. Please bear with us as we work our way through this process.

During this time of emergency, we intend to make coronavirus articles available for viewing at www.whidbeynewstimes.com to all, free of charge. Also, be sure to follow the Whidbey News-Times Facebook page for breaking information.

We will be still be available to take your emails and phone calls. During these exceptional times, the best way to contact is via the following:

Circulation (subscriptions/delivery/website access): dsmothers@whidbeynewsgroup.com; 360-675-6611, x. 65004

Editorial (news/features/letters to the editor): editor@whidbeynewsgroup.com, 360-675-6611, x. 55604

Advertising (retail/display/preprints): advertising@whidbeynewsgroup.com, 360-675-6611, x. 35004

Classifieds (line ads): classified@soundpublishing.com, 800-388-2527

Legal Notices: legals@whidbeynewsgroup.com, 800-388-2527

All other questions: publisher@whidbeynewsgroup.com, 360-675-6611, ext. 15004.

If our phone lines are busy, or we aren’t available, please leave a detailed message, your email address and phone number, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Until things return to normal, we appreciate your patience as we strive to keep you informed.

• Keven Graves is executive editor and publisher for the Whidbey News-Times. he can be reached at kgraves@whidbeynewsgroup.com

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