On March 23 the Ontario government ordered the closure of all “non-essential” businesses in the province as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The closures took effect at 11:59 March 24 and would last for at least 2 weeks.
Essential services may continue operations to maintain supply chains and ensure the people of Ontario have access to necessities, including information.
The Observer office is open for staff only and are practicing social distancing and following established protocols including regular sanitizing of common areas, hand-washing, adjusted work hours and staying home if any symptoms arise.
Editorial staff will practice social distancing with any interactions with the public and will primarily reach out through phone, email and our website to communicate.
Can you catch COVID-19 from handling newspapers?
First, there are no known cases of the coronavirus being transmitted to someone via a paper or package arriving at their house. You would be much more likely to get it from a delivery person if you came into face-to-face contact with someone who was sick, as unlikely as that might be.
Second, we have implemented measures to ensure carriers observe all precautions, including self-isolation if they have traveled, and do not deliver if they are at risk. We separate them at our building when they pick up newspapers. They are now picking up papers in a drive-through lineup so they do not get out of their vehicles.
Third, newspapers do not come in contact with humans until they are handed to carriers. The newsprint goes on presses, finished papers go on conveyors to bundling stations, where bundles of papers are wrapped. These bundles are handed to carriers by shippers wearing gloves.
Fourth, like in so many other situations, if you handle something and touch a surface, wash your hands afterward. The same goes for newspapers. Washing hands after reading it is a good idea.