In My Opinion: Beach Metro News will continue to serve community during COVID-19 crisis and beyond

Beach Metro News editor Alan Shackleton's In My Opinion column this week touches on the need to support local small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By ALAN SHACKLETON

There is a lot going on right now as we come to terms with the new realities the COVID-19 crisis has imposed upon us and what the future may hold.

It’s a tough and stressful time.

Many are finding it extremely hard to be unable to meet with extended family and friends in person, to gather in groups, attend concerts, sports events, or go to bars or restaurants.

We are all making sacrifices to get through this horrible pandemic and to keep each other safe.

The stresses and sacrifices for small businesses owners are even more extreme as along with everything else some of them are facing the possibility of having to close permanently.

When we finally beat this thing, our streets are going to look different and some of the restaurants, clothing stores, shops, and others that have seemed to be a part of our neighbourhoods forever won’t be there. That’s a sad prospect, and one residents are able to take direct action to help try and stop.

I’ve said this before in my column space here, but there has never been a more important time to make every effort to find ways to support your local small businesses. Please do your part, especially when it comes to businesses (like restaurants) that can offer items ordered online or by phone and then either be picked up safely or delivered directly to your residence.

The community we will have once restrictions on group gatherings, social distancing, and what businesses can and cannot be open again will depend a lot on the decisions we make over the next few weeks.

There is finally a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the possibility of better days ahead.

The measures that have been taken and the sacrifices that have been made are slowly starting to pay off.

However, there is still a long road ahead. Now is not the time to be celebrating a victory we have yet to achieve.

Those demanding the immediate end of the economic shutdown and a return to normal life are misinformed, selfish beyond words, and a danger to all of us who have been working so hard in so many ways to beat COVID-19.

Speaking of those working hard to help others during this time, congratulations to Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford, members of the Toronto Hustle cycling group, and everyone else who took part in last weekend’s CRUSH COVID event to raise funds for Michael Garron Hospital.

Participants, either as individuals or in teams, rode their indoor bikes for 24 hours to support the hospital in its COVID-19 fight. Bradford was among those who rode for the entire 24 hours, and he got a cheer from neighbours on his street when he finished Saturday evening. The event raised more than $209,000 and is one of many examples of how residents are helping others and supporting organizations on the front line of the battle against this virus.

We here at Beach Metro News are doing our best during these challenging times to write stories about events such as CRUSH COVID. We all realize how important it is to know what’s going on in the community; who is in need, who is doing something about it and how you can help. As always, we’re also here to celebrate local successes, examine issues of importance, and report to you the local news both in print and online.

I have spent the majority of my more than 30-year journalism career in community newspapers. I believe they are the most important and powerful voice there is for keeping residents informed and building a sense of togetherness. We bring news and advertisements to you in our printed paper every two weeks (and every day online), and I think we play a key role in making this a stronger community.

I’m proud to be a part of the Beach Metro News team serving our community, especially now.

Which makes me sad and disappointed to hear earlier this month that one of our print competitors (The Beach-East York Neighbourhood Voice), announced it would no longer be publishing. That paper used to be two different papers – The Beach Mirror and The East York Mirror. I was editor of both papers, on and off, for the better part of 14 years between 2002 and 2016. Good people worked in every department, and there are still excellent and dedicated journalists there.

It’s too bad that at a time when community newspapers are so needed, such a decision would be made. Yes, they will continue to present news online but I can tell you that is not the same level of community commitment required to produce a print newspaper every week or two weeks.

SHARE YOUR MEMORIES OF VE DAY WITH BEACH METRO NEWS

And now, readers, I need your help with a story we’re planning for our May 12 edition.

A few days prior will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe, and I’m hoping readers can share their memories, and any photos, of that time.

I realize most people will have to be sending us memories of their parents or grandparents, but we’d love to hear what and who you are remembering.

Let us know about a relative who served, or where your parents were when they heard the war had ended. Please email me at alan@beachmetro.com with your stories and photos.

Thanks and stay well.


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