From the Publisher: Adapting to the new normal
Our governmental leaders seem to be confused. Some are emphasizing that we should take precautions against infection with the coronavirus—stay home, keep businesses closed, observe social distancing, use personal protective equipment, etc. Others are emphasizing that nothing is more important than our civil liberties, and the right to go where we wish, when we wish, and how we wish.
You can see this confusion in the recent actions of the Wisconsin Governor, State Legislature, and Supreme Court. The Governor issued Emergency Orders mandating social distancing and staying at home; the Legislature sued to get them overturned; and the Supreme Court did in fact overturn the Orders.
The media are confused too. Some outlets report a nation-wide death toll over 80,000, and state that this may be under-counting the fatality rate. Others state it is accurate, and still others say the reported death total is inflated.
In this environment, we as a newspaper and digital company need to make decisions about how to act and what to do every single day. In this matter, we will be guided by principle. So we want to state clearly and unequivocally, nothing trumps the safety, health, and lives of our employees, customers, and suppliers. Full stop. All possible actions must be evaluated within this framework.
Here is what we plan to do.
- We now have been told that we can reopen our offices. If we are able to obtain enough personal protective equipment—masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc.—we will do so on May 26, the original date set for reopening by Emergency Order No. 28, Safer At Home.
- We have established in-office procedures to reduce the likelihood of transmission of the virus— social distancing, use of hand sanitizer, personal protective equipment, and so forth. We will continue these procedures.
- We will keep a watchful eye on the overall trend of the outbreak and take other measures as needed. As for sales calls in person, we respect the rights of our sales staff to decide whether to call on people, and our customers whether to receive them, strongly encouraging all to keep in mind the guiding principle of protecting the health and safety of everyone involved. When unsure of what to do, we urge all to err on the side of safety and good sense.
In closing, we all need to remember that the C-virus has no ears. It does not care about governmental orders or political controversies. It has no politics, prejudices or fears in its effort to infect and kill people. It will go wherever and into whomever it chooses regardless of any artificial boundaries set by the world. Health and safety must be paramount.
Above all, stay safe so that you and all of us may enjoy many better tomorrows, however dimly seen they may be right now.