The coronavirus didn’t necessarily come out of left field, but it came hard, and became very real, very soon.
Only a couple weeks ago, Trail fans were celebrating the Smoke Eaters win over Prince George, the City was preparing for Silver City Days, the skateboard park and Birchbank Golf Course poised to open, Charles Bailey productions to hit the stage, and spring teas ready to perk —— and then nothing.
Literally overnight, every sport, concert, event, trip, business, park and playground were shut down.
Since then, thousands have been laid off, sent home, fallen sick and suffered the collective indignity of self-isolation and loss of income. The economy staggers, as thousands more cases and deaths are reported every day throughout the world, and the media, Trail Times included, runs COVID-19 stories 24/7.
It’s exhausting and debilitating and the pandemic has taken its toll on every person, family, and business, but it is important to stay informed and aware.
COVID-19 has also adversely affected newsrooms across North America, especially small, local publications. Some have cut staff or rolled back production to one paper per week, others have shut down completely. The Trail Times is also changing. Understandably, it has lost many of its advertisers, but will continue operations, while adhering to recommendations from the BC health authority.
The Times altered its practices in concern for carriers, truck drivers and sorters, temporarily closed the shop on Cedar Ave., and placed the papers on newstands outside. Its few employees have self-isolated and are working from home or self-distancing in the office.
Many local businesses have continued their support, and we thank you. For others, we wish you, your families, and businesses well, and can only hope to see you again under better circumstances in the future.
As cost-cutting measures, Black Press also notified the Times that they suspended all paid columnists and cartoonists. While it may seem counter-productive to axe those aspects of the newspaper that make us laugh and force us to think deeply when we need it most, it is part and parcel of the new normal.
To Ron Nutini, Dave Thompson, Gwynne Dyer, and Greg Perry, on behalf of the Times, we apologize. Times readers will miss the incisive political commentary from Gwynne, Greg’s always poignant and hilarious cartoons, Ron’s friendly and expert mechanical advice, and Dave’s experienced and knowledgable observations, and piercing analysis of all things Sports.
We hope to see you back soon.
The community too has rallied. Hearts appeared on windows and trees overnight; doctors, engineers, local businesses and churches partnered to make personal protective equipment for KBRH and KLH frontline staff; non-profit organizations are delivering groceries to Trail’s most vulnerable; Glenmerry residents organized a birthday parade for their youngest; and as a community, we have taken responsibility to self-isolate and distance ourselves, so that we can weather the gathering storm.
The road ahead remains muddied, but, as far as we know, the Times will continue to provide the news that matters most to Greater Trail residents, and some that lightens the mood, as best we can, in uncertain times.
We invite readers to help in this endeavor, and if you have a photo or story you’d like to share please contact us at email@example.com —- and for the online commentators, go easy, everyone is just trying to do their best.
A huge thanks to all staff at KBRH for their efforts, to homecare workers, first responders, firefighters, and RCMP, the volunteers, grocery stores, BCLC, pharmacies, businesses and Trail Times readers that have taken incredible steps to keep the public safe.
Stay healthy, keep safe, and well read.