OPINION: The Journal going forward, and our strange new normal

George Mathewson

Where have you been?

We heard that a lot last week after many residents searched in vain for The Journal in the usual mailboxes and stores.

Here’s the explanation.

Because of the COVID-19 emergency and its devastating impact on our advertisers we have switched from weekly to biweekly publication, at least for the month of April.

The Journal has always been a free publication supported entirely by our advertisers. That’s why we can offer it to you free of charge.

When the Ontario government and City Hall simultaneously declared states of emergency and life as we knew it came to a grinding halt, our advertisers, understandably, had little to advertise.

That means, with biweekly publication, the next print edition will be on April 23.

The usual flow of information that makes for news in Sarnia has become a fire hose of late. The blasts are vigorous and daily, if not hourly.

As a result, we are continuing to work online, and from home.

If you want breaking news on the pandemic, visit our website (www.thesarniajournal.ca) or Facebook page. There you’ll find up-to-date statistics and the latest from public health officials.

Here, in the print newspaper, we will continue to keep you informed about Sarnia-area residents, and how they are coping and finding creative ways to adjust.

The truth is there is much about this virus that is unknown, including hard conclusions about its characteristics, transmission and mutability. That breeds fear.

Yet some things are readily apparent. Getting through this pandemic is no longer a sprint, it’s a marathon. And a city can’t stay locked down forever. It has to and will reopen, hopefully sooner than later.

It’s easy to point fingers and second-guess, and there is much of that online. But personally I think our elected officials have done a good job of keeping us safe. For one thing, they have wisely let public health experts take the lead, and we as citizens have largely followed the advice.

By comparison, President Donald Trump’s dismissive attitude toward expert advice has coincided with the U.S. becoming the epicenter of the global pandemic, despite that country’s advantages.

Finally, as the rest of us hunker down and settle into a new normal, please remember to thank the real heroes of this battle: the front-line workers, the doctors and nurses, the PSWs and senior home staff, the emergency responders, the delivery people, the cashiers, and the bus drivers and cleaners.