Even though Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order issued on Monday directing the temporary closure of noncritical businesses in Michigan was anticipated by most business owners and managers, it still landed like a gut punch. Especially for those small and medium-sized businesses that had been holding on to employees, creatively marketing their businesses and assuring customers over the last few weeks, as the coronavirus pandemic ramped up, that they were still in business and ready to serve. Those small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of our communities’ economies, employing hundreds in each of our small cities, towns and villages and thousands across our county. They pump nearly 70% of each dollar they take in right back into the local economy. Those businesses also provide the opportunity for financial independence, generate job opportunities and create innovation. They are essential to “place making” in our resurgent downtowns as younger generations discover the pleasures of unique, walkable and friendly retail and entertainment spaces.
Those same business are also the lifeblood of community newspapers like ours. Our papers have a special, symbiotic relationship with our local businesses. We depend on each other – they need us to distribute their marketing messages and we need the revenue created by that advertising to fulfill our mission of delivering important news and essential information to our readers.
To say that particular economic exchange, along with commerce in general, has been disrupted is an understatement. In spite of that disruption, View Newspaper Group will carry on with our mission of informing our readers and delivering the marketing messages of our advertisers who are able to continue to serve their customers.
To what degree we are able to continue delivery of the print editions of our free newspapers, like this one, depends on the duration and severity of our advertising revenue loss. Our contingency plan calls for some sort of printed edition, even if limited in page count and circulation. We plan to keep our websites updated until the crisis has passed. Any interruption in the print editions of our free papers will be temporary. Like all businesses and like all of you, we are taking this crisis one day at a time.
In response to both the health threat of the coronavirus and the resulting economic realities, we have many of our team members working from home, many on reduced hours and we have, regrettably, had to issue some layoffs.
Our hearts go out to everyone who is enduring any hardship, job loss and anxiety brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. We pray for any who may be infected and their family members. We support and thank our medical personnel and first responders. We salute those who continue to volunteer and serve their fellow humans through nonprofits, civic organizations and individual acts of kindness. We empathize with our friends and colleagues in business and continue to look for ways to support them.
To echo the encouraging words we’ve heard from many – We are in this together and we will get through this together. Thank you for reading View Newspapers.