As we face the coronavirus pandemic together, thank you for your support

While Canada mobilizes to respond to the spread of COVID-19, we want to take a moment to thank you for your continued support. Many of you have reached out to one of our staff with tips, questions and gratitude for our coronavirus coverage.

We have been working hard to bring you the most current and factual information on this quickly evolving crisis that vanquishes rumors, keeps the Quad Counties united, and helps us recover.

At a time when rumors swirl, The Reporter is your trusted source and the authority on the virus in our communities.

These past five days have been astonishing – for all of you, and for all of us.

Since our newspaper was established in 1981, we can say we’ve never felt so keenly the importance of bringing local journalism to our community. Being a part of the Advocate Media Inc. family, we’ve never seen the entire company rally behind our mission the way in which we are now.

We are working at a whirlwind pace to report rapidly changing news developments such as closures, new cases, implemented health and safety measures and travel restrictions. We are asking tough questions to hold our officials accountable, while also trying to share the extreme challenges they face by capturing moments of heart-wrenching struggle and uplifting acts of kindness.

We are here to bring you the essential health information while also digging into the reasons for the rapid spread of the virus, the problematic lack of noticable symptoms, the sometimes chaotic and counterproductive decision-making by governments and the impact it has on citizens and our medical systems.

I can assure you our journalists are working tirelessly around the clock as the spread of coronavirus has now touched our children’s schools, our favourite professional sports teams, our places of work and prayer, our entertainment venues and for many of us our it has direct repercussions on our family’s income.

And we are intently focused on providing you with the necessary resources you need to navigate this unsettling time; things like tips for keeping your home virus-free, creating detailed graphics explaining how the virus takes hold and the steps you can take to keep you and your family safe.

Many of you are wondering what we’re doing to safeguard the health of our staff and to the public.

While we don’t pretend to have all the answers – no one does – we’re doing our very best. For the first time ever, all of our newsroom employees are working remotely from home; despite one taking a scheduled vacation; as are all company employees who are able to do so.

Our office will remain closed until further notice, but that will not impact our ability to report on the news or your abaility to contact us. We can assure you that we’re prepared to cover every aspect of this pandemic for as long as we need to, with the clarity, expertise and vigor that the subject deserves.

We are not scientists or health care professionals, we are simply parents who are now juggling child-care, we are children of elderly parents who are the most at-risk, we live inside your communities and we aren’t different from any of you.

We aren’t here to spread fear or push an agenda, we’re simply here to extend our hand to the Quad County community in a time of need.

We all have our part to do; it only takes one to save thousands. So we urge everybody to listen to the recommendations being reported from both our federal and provincial governments along with our local health authorities.

There’s going to be some rough weeks ahead for many of us, and we beg of you, please be kind to one another.

For those who must go out to do their jobs, we are taking extra precautions.

In addition to the increasing health and safety measures, all Advocate Media employees have been instructed to notify their supervisor and self-isolate for 14 days if they have travelled outside of Atlantic Canada or if they have been in contact with someone who has. We’ve shared public health guidelines such as social distancing, keeping six feet or more between people whenever possible, limiting face-to-face interviews and we have also provided hand sanitizer to those who interact with or in the public.

For our operations and circulation staff, as well as our carriers — who don’t have the option of working from home — we are taking every step we can to safeguard their health.

Our staff is fueled by your unwavering support, and it is people like you that have kept us going at moments we’ve felt exhausted, worried or discouraged.

We’re also reassured to see how many people are continuing to come to us to stay informed and by doing so we have made our coverage on the coronavirus free as a public service by removing the paywall from our entire website for 30-days.

That’s critical, especially given the fact that while the world around us feels like it’s changing on a daily basis, the economic challenges facing journalism remains the same. If you haven’t already subscribed but want us to continue fulfilling the critical role of informing you, please consider joining us in this mission by subscribing. You can do so at www.porthawkesburyreporter.com/membership-account/membership-levels/ or by calling us at 902-625-3300.

As we head into uncertain times, here are some free useful resources to keep handy:

• Our daily live updates can be found on www.porthawkesburyreporter.com, each morning with need-to-know, breaking news and information that’s updated throughout the day.

• We will be posting a visual guide outlining factual information surrounding COVID-19 and precautions on how to stay healthy.

• And we will also create a dedicated COVID-19 page on our website where you can find all of our reporting on the pandemic, with the latest coverage appearing first.

Additionally, if you have news tips, story ideas or feedback on any of our coverage, please email phkreporter@gmail.com or drakelowthers@porthawkesburyreporter.com.

For all of us, living in this new reality means adapting very suddenly to new routines. We’ve certainly felt that ourselves, and unlike with many big news stories we routinely cover, we are experiencing this one as it unfolds right before our eyes, with the people we’re writing about.

In fact, that’s one positive side effect of this global pandemic: we’re becoming more empathetic by the day, and we see you are too.

On behalf of all of us at The Reporter, we share our deep appreciation for your continued support for us, and for local journalism.

We will get through this together.

Wela’lin.