The world is in uncharted territory
To say we are in uncertain times is an understatement. In so many ways, the world is in uncharted territory. What the coronavirus has done, through its worldwide spread, is to make much of the globe stop whatever it was doing. It’s kind of like the childhood game of freeze tag, only in reverse: People are freezing in place to avoid getting tagged by the coronavirus.
Another thing that has frozen up is the economy, and especially the local economy. Many small businesses around the valley and the region have been forced to close, either by government decree or by simple fear of the virus’ potential damage.
But there are also a number of businesses that are not closed. They have been deemed essential for the basic functioning of our society and our economy. Now, more than ever, those businesses need support, in whatever way people can.
We all know about the grocery stores and markets. But there are others, like restaurants offering meals to go, gas stations, propane and oil delivery services, auto parts and repair shops, transportation and delivery companies, media and information technology, liquor stores (very essential), and more. In fact, the list of essential services produced by the state of Vermont is probably longer than the list of closed businesses.
Here in the valley, we have a large number of mom-and-pop businesses, including The Deerfield Valley News. All of us face an uncertain future for our businesses. We don’t have big corporate cash reserves or large lines of credit to stay afloat. We are all asking the same questions: Will we be able to meet payroll, can we pay our bills, can we continue to provide the same level of service to our customers, will we still be here on the other side?
All of us can use any support people can offer.
For The Deerfield Valley News, we hope people realize how important it is to support local news reporting and information delivery during times like these.
We know it’s hard out there, with so much uncertainty. We face that, too. But we are working harder than ever to keep clear, accurate information flowing online and in print. Followers of our website and social media feeds may have noticed an increase in postings. That’s because things are changing rapidly. Readers of our print edition will notice some changes too, mostly less advertising and more things to do to pass the time. This week we’ve expanded the annual Easter Coloring Contest to include some art for adults to color. We’ve also removed our community meeting section, since basically none of them are taking place, and added some more puzzles and doodles. Those are little things, but they are things people can do to feel connected.
Nobody knows what exactly the future will bring. But we do know that a future without local news is one that isn’t good for anyone. Study after study has shown that a community without a local newspaper suffers from lack of information about so many things, from local government decisions to school news to what’s happening with local sports. They’ve even coined a term for the loss of local reporting: “news deserts.” We don’t want to dry up for the communities we serve.
Now more than ever, we ask for the community to support our efforts in whatever way they can. That can be by purchasing a subscription online; placing advertising for a business or a service; buying a classified to sell some unwanted items; or just an “attaboy” or a “like” on social media when we publish something useful.
We all face uncertain times, but we are working hard every day to bring a little news and information, a little fun and games, and a little certainty and continuity to the valley and to readers. Just like so many other businesses that are working hard to keep a semblance of normalcy in these times that are anything but.
On behalf of all the local businesses trying to keep the lights on, we appreciate any and all support people can offer.