“The events of the last several days have rattled us all,” David Woronoff, publisher of The Pilot, in Southern Pines, North Carolina, wrote in a memo to all employees last week. “In turbulent times like these, our community looks to The Pilot and its publications to provide accurate information and a steady dose of normalcy. Thank you all for staying calm and focused on your work, as it’s very easy to get distracted.”
While the next few weeks might be challenging in everyone’s professional and personal lives, he wrote about the importance of the work that the staff does.
“In order to best serve our communities, we must continue to publish our newspaper, newsletters, websites and magazines without interruption. You are crucial to making that happen,” he said.
“We’re serving a jittery community right now. So, it’s important that we maintain a calm and kind demeanor, particularly when dealing with readers and customers who might not be on their best behavior.
“So, first and foremost, we need to make sure we are all safe in our activities and mindful that each of us faces different stresses in our lives.”
Due to the rapidly changing nature of this virus, he noted that events may dictate that the paper’s plans be changed at times without much notice and he offered the following guidelines going forward.
Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs.
Pay attention to potential COVID-19, including: fever over 100.3F, cough and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor and DO NOT COME TO WORK.
Seek medical attention immediately for COVID-19 if you develop:
If you become aware of any potential exposure you have had to COVID-19, please stay home until you receive further guidance from your supervisor.
We have confirmed with First Carolina Care that anyone needing testing for the virus is covered completely by our insurance, as it is considered preventative care. However, treatment of the virus will be handled like any other claim.
Whether in the workplace or out in the community, we ask you to continue to utilize simple practices — www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/protect/prevent.html — to prevent the spread of germs (frequent hand-washing, avoid touching your face, avoid close contact with people who are sick, etc.)
We are actively engaged in prevention steps, including working with our cleaning crews to sanitize common spaces as much as possible. We are increasing the availability of hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes throughout the offices for your personal use. Please be good stewards of these resources and use them to protect our work environment.
Over the last couple of years, we have made strides in eliminating the need to work in the office. So, we are able to produce the newspaper and magazines without access to our offices.
If, for any reason, you do not feel comfortable working in your office, please see your supervisor and make arrangements to work from home. Remember that working from home is not a vacation. Our success during this crisis depends on your being on the job and as productive as possible.
The Greensboro, Wilmington and Raleigh offices are essentially remote-working locations. So, those staffers can shift to working from home with relative ease. We have made plans for our Southern Pines and Charlotte offices to operate remotely for as long as is necessary, should the need arise.
We are actively planning and reviewing our business continuity needs. We will communicate further regarding those plans as we continue to monitor and respond to this ever-changing situation. We are anticipating that individuals may become impacted and that efforts to control the illness could disrupt our business. We will continue to update you on what we are doing and how we are planning for those possibilities.
This is an unprecedented experience for all of us. For those of you feeling anxiety, worry and concern about the virus outbreak, please trust that I am dedicated to doing all we can to plan for and manage contingencies. In all of our efforts, I will continue to focus on maintaining a safe and healthy work environment.
We exist for moments like this. Our readers and advertisers need us to be the source of fair, thorough and accurate information as well as a voice for compassion, civility and kindness. If we can reflect those values in our work, then we’ll be successful and our communities that we are so fortunate to serve will be better for it.