In our business, we’re not in the position to be turning down opportunities to interact with the public.
Not just from an advertising sales standpoint, but from the position we’re in. We need to know what’s going on, and for that to happen, we’ve got to be in touch with people in our town. There are few better spots for us to occupy than our place on the west end of Main Street in Belton.
But the surreal events of the last two days have made an impression. Before Wednesday, we all knew there was a storm lurking just offshore in the form of a virus that could potentially do tremendous harm, not just to any of us physically, but to us as a nation.
We remember the fuzzy, black-and-white photos of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, and we recall with horror the tremendous number of deaths related to it.
But like most historical landmarks of the distant past, we struggle to consider them real.
Wednesday, it hit home. Starting late in the afternoon, one by one, nationwide staples began to fall. An annual basketball tournament, already started at the Sprint Center, would first be played before empty seats, then not at all. Same the entirety of March Madness. March Madness. Nothing could seem so unreal.
Disney closes for the first time since 9-11. And on it went.
By Friday, it became obvious, as we watch the scenes from Italy, that our normal no longer existed and we were about to be changed in stunning ways.
Most businesses will continue to operate in the face of this pandemic, as will we.
Most will keep their doors open, though many in sensitive occupations will limit access.
We face a different dilemma.
We serve primarily an older clientele with our print product. We won’t dispute that, it goes with the territory. We’re a relic to a different time, albeit one that remains necessary in a free society.
But along with that service to a larger percentage of senior citizens comes concern when we hear that COVID 19 is particularly deadly for that segment of society. Some estimates indicate that the death rate, among those seniors that contract the infection, could reach as high as 15-20 percent. It’s an unknown, but none of it sounds good.
And because we’re behind on testing for the infection, there’s only one way we know of to limit exposure, and that’s social distancing. We need to begin to conduct our business – at least for now – in ways other than face-to-face.
It is for that reason that, for the time being, we’re going to close our office to the public. If you want to bring a subscription payment in person, we have a deposit box mounted near our entrance. Our phones are rigged to ring remotely from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays – our normal business hours.
You’ll likely see us in the office, but our doors will be locked, unfortunately, for now. But please call, email or Facebook message us at any time.
During World War II, the public’s greater good was served by the rationing of basic supplies. That’s how we made sure there was enough for everyone.
It’s the same today. Because we have it within our power to do deadly harm to each other, completely unknowingly, by spreading this virus, it’s our obligation to commit to social distancing – for now.