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Small business pain and local journalism

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Leslie Campbell

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March 24, 2020

THERE ARE NOW 617 COVID-19 cases in BC, 44 on the Island.

Feeling a bit depressed. Besides the global trauma, the local pain hit me today. I talked by phone to some of our advertisers, long-term ones to see how they were doing. Though all tried to be upbeat, some are facing very difficult situations—those with high Downtown rents, expensive seasonal stock, beloved employees they have little choice but to lay off in the face of zero revenues. The current 10 percent wage subsidy is inadequate; Sweden is doing 90 percent. The small business folks who I know are not in it for the money. They love what they do and work really hard, often for modest returns.

I hope the commercial landlords are generous—forgiving-rents-generous—with their tenants. Focus is fortunate on that score: we’ve been working out of our home for many years.

I hear about a couple of popular restaurants that closed and are not doing takeout either, largely due to how labour-intensive and nerve-wracking it was to keep everything properly sanitized.

I talk with Mollie Kaye, our arts editor, who is out on social media advocating in her forceful, creative way for everyone to “stay home!”

 

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Mollie Kaye, dressed up and out there, before the pandemic arrived

 

Mollie also reminds me we really need good investigative journalism. David is keen to continue doing his research, especially around the forestry and carbon issue, but how will we generate funds to pay for other investigative reports? (And how will David find the time when he must also work daily on the website?) A whole set of skills that I do not have—crowd-funding and social media, for instance—will be needed. Anyone want to help on such fronts?

A walk in the late afternoon sunshine is restorative. The forest in that golden light, without a breath of wind, is enchanting.

I welcome your response, either as a comment below or privately through the Contact Us button at the bottom of this page.

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