“We have a long way to go and the challenge for all of us is survival”
News, Opinion | Richard Gurner | Published: 09:03, Saturday March 28th, 2020.
Last updated: 11:11, Monday March 30th, 2020
Never before have our day-to-day lives been transformed in such a short space of time.
Almost everyone has been taken off-guard at the speed of developments since the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in Caerphilly County Borough just over a fortnight ago.
It was around 4pm on Wednesday, March 11, when we had confirmation through – just after our print deadline.
We published a story on our website and we attracted around 7,000 visitors in just under an hour.
Our website, which usually handles that level of traffic over the course of a full day, fell over and went offline for the rest of the evening.
When I was out delivering our newspapers the next day (we’re a small, independent operation), it was the only topic of conversation on the street.
I finished work early on the Friday, as I often do, to collect my children. They spent time in the school yard practising to ride their bicycles.
As he was leaving, their headmaster joked about charging us a fee for the use of school facilities out-of-hours.
I laughed as my boys struggled to get the humour and we headed into the weekend.
That everyday moment now seems a very, very, long time ago.
In his address to the nation on Monday, March 23, the Prime Minister announced measures that look like the beginning of a full-scale lockdown.
We’re not quite there yet, but what was once an inconceivable notion in this country, is very much a reality.
And this is only the beginning. We have a long way to go yet and the challenge for all of us is survival.
Survival from the actual virus, survival from the economic fallout and survival from the mental anguish this crisis is causing.
Running a local newspaper is stressful and there is real pressure involved, but I have been surprised at how much the last fortnight has affected me.
I have struggled – a lot.
It has taken ten years to build up Caerphilly Observer as an authoritative, reliable, and trustworthy news service for Caerphilly County Borough. We are the only news outlet dedicated to the entire area, covering a population of around 180,000.
The coronavirus crisis, while still in its infancy, presents us with a huge commercial challenge.
Around 75% of our turnover comes from local businesses advertising in our newspaper and on our website.
Our amazing NHS workers need all of our support right now as they prepare for their biggest challenge in the organisation’s 70 years.
Our children have been leading the way with colourful rainbows becoming a common sight in windows – a symbol that there is always sunshine after the rain.
How long this depression will last nobody can say, despite best guesses, but as long as we have each other then everything is going to be alright in the end.
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