From the publisher: We’re all in the coronavirus fight together and we can all do our part
The Aspen Times
I was grateful Sunday morning for one more CycleBar class before Jordan Bullock made the difficult decision to temporarily close her business. I’ll admit, at one point during my ride, I couldn’t distinguish between the beads of sweat and tears rolling down my face. I’m not totally sure what emotions were streaming out of my eyes, but I guess it was probably sadness, fear, frustration and uncertainty. I desperately needed to let that all go. We all do.
Last week feels like a world away. In five short days our little slice of paradise went from business as usual with recommended social distancing protocols to seeing all four of our mountains closed by order of the governor of Colorado and hundreds of businesses scrambling to salvage their spring seasons and jobs for their employees.
Things are changing so quickly it’s hard to keep up. We’re grateful to all of you who are tuning in all day every day to keep up with what’s new. We know you’re out there because you are picking up more papers than ever and you are reading online by the hundreds of thousands. We remain committed to writing as fast and as furiously as we can and giving you only factual and helpful information.
HOW OUR BUSINESS IS CHANGING
Things are no different at The Aspen Times. We made the decision to close our office for this week, which runs counter to every single thing we value about the business we are in: social connectivity with our community, constant dialogue, eyes and ears on the street and camaraderie. Social distancing sucks, but if it flattens the community spread curve and helps us to get through this storm sooner and healthier, then it really wasn’t a difficult decision at all.
We will also change the way we deliver the news. We will continue to print newspapers, but you will find them in fewer physical locations. Beginning Monday, we will remove the doors from boxes in key locations and load them up with papers so that both our delivery drivers and the public can pick up a print copy without having to touch the box handle. We will put signs on all of the remaining boxes directing our readers to the locations where papers can be found. We will also stop bagged delivery to most local businesses. We don’t see any reason to clutter our streets with bags of unclaimed newspapers. We will do our best to keep track of which businesses remain open; if we get it wrong, please give us a call and we’ll make sure you get delivery as usual.
There’s no doubt that the way the world does business will change as a result of coronavirus. How it changes can be largely up to us. I encourage all of us to turn fear and panic into action and innovation. We have a tremendous opportunity to figure out how to move forward when the rules of the game changed overnight and without our input or permission.
We call on our readers and online audiences to use this time to offer thoughts of inspiration, share ideas about how to support each other, seek ways to do business in a virtual environment and seize opportunities to shape how our businesses evolve. The time isn’t right for judgment and finger-pointing — it really never is. Let’s be proactive and productive and see our way through this. We will be stronger and healthier as a result.
HUMANITY AND MENTAL HEALTH
We are on the world stage today as we almost always are. I hope that we will be the example the world wants to see.
Don’t take more than you need. Stock the supplies you need and ensure your family has enough. But anything that is more than enough could well be what means your neighbor’s family doesn’t have enough.
Practice gratitude. I know it sounds hippy dippy, but finding the small things that remain good in our lives and intentionally recognizing lifts our spirits.
Smile at each other on the street. It feels weird to laugh and smile and pretend like we aren’t in crisis, but a simple smile doesn’t say you aren’t taking things seriously; it says, “I see you and you matter and we’re all in this together.”
These are the times that highlight humanity. Let’s double down on our authenticity, generosity and compassion.
And remember, if everything gets canceled and we have to stay home and nothing happens, that was the whole point.
TOMORROW, AND THE DAYS AFTER
Pitkin County was established in 1881. So was The Aspen Times. Ute City (later to be named Aspen) was founded in 1879. We have a long history of enduring — and prospering — through the hard times.
If you see something that you think The Aspen Times can do to support our community, please tell me: firstname.lastname@example.org or call my cellphone at 720-412-4240.
The sun will come up tomorrow and when it does, we’ll be one day closer to putting this chapter in our rearview mirrors.
Be well, friends.
Samantha Johnston is the publisher of The Aspen Times.