My wife, Allison, tells me just about everyday she wants me to stay home.
She has an extremely compromised immune system due to a number of potent medications she takes that basically makes it where she doesn’t have one.
And no, I’m not exaggerating.
To paraphrase a longtime quote from my dad, Allison has been self-quarantining before self-quarantining was cool.
Fortunately for me, she knows the profession I’ve chosen, and even more importantly, she knows how stubborn I am about doing the job and doing it well, especially in times of crisis when our readers, advertisers and communities are depending on us the most.
That time is most definitely now.
I see it in the increased use of our Facebook page, website and print edition. More people are turning to the newspaper than ever before in order to get the information they need to keep them and their families safe, and we have to be here for them in this time of need.
In fact, in municipalities in other counties where residents have been ordered to shelter in place, the newspaper and other media have been deemed “essential businesses” because local officials recognize the important role we play in terms of disseminating accurate, reliable information to the public in real time.
Which is why we haven’t closed our office or started working from home the way so many other businesses have either chose to or had to do.
That doesn’t mean we don’t have to take measures to ensure the safety of our staff and their families. Starting Monday, for example, we are going to limit public access to the newspaper office to reduce the chance of exposure. We are not going to be able to do our job for you if one of us contracts the coronavirus, so we’ve got to make sure we reduce the chance of that happening.
You’ll see a sign on the door to the lobby explaining whether or not you should enter. Basically it says if there is a chance you have been exposed to the virus, or are showing any symptoms, don’t even touch the doorknob. Just turn around and call, text or email instead.
We’ll continue to wipe down that doorknob, along with all the other ones in the building and light switches to boot, spray Lysol, social distance, wash our hands, use hand sanitizer and anything else we can thing of because at the end of the day we have to take every precaution while continuing to do our jobs.
At the end of the day I go through a whole other regimen to reduce the risk of bringing anything home to my wife and family.
That’s that delicate balance between safety and duty we are all having to strike right now.
Patrick Graham is the owner of The Walton Tribune. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.