As state and federal officials desperately work to “flatten the curve” and the impact of COVID-19 cases on our healthcare system, many local businesses have experienced the devastating results of an economy that has ground to a halt.

Newspapers are just one sector of the local economy that have been hit hard by the spread of the virus and the historic measures officials have taken to slow its movement.

Just this week Adams Publishing Group of East Central Minnesota, the parent company of this newspaper, announced plans to trim its workforce hours by 25% and also notified many of its part-time staff and correspondents that they would be sidelined until the local economy is back on its feet.

“As we are all well aware, the economy is experiencing significant and rapidly evolving challenges for all businesses due to coronavirus, and APG is experiencing the same contraction,” Mark Adams, CEO of Adams Publishing Group in Minnesota, wrote in a memo to employees this past Wednesday. “Now more than ever, it has become even more critical that we be financially and immediately responsive to those market conditions.”

APG of East Central Minnesota newspapers will continue to produce print and online editions and there will be no interruption of service for customers, but staff will be operating under reduced time constraints. Staff are also following the guidelines specified by the CDC regarding social distancing, frequent hand washing and proper sanitizing of equipment and surfaces.

"This was a very difficult decision for us, which we did not take lightly. But given the circumstances with COVID-19 and its impact on all sectors of the economy, we needed to take steps that would help us weather this event,” said Mark Weber, president of Adams Publishing Group of East Central Minnesota. “Our readers and advertisers can be assured that papers will go out on time and our online sites will be updated frequently. That is only possible because of the dedicated staff who continue to amaze me with their determination.

"It’s been a tough couple of weeks for everyone, but we certainly appreciate all the support from our readers and advertisers. And we all look forward to the day when this virus no longer disrupts our lives,” Weber said.

The announcement came as Gov. Tim Walz was addressing the state about his plans to implement a statewide shelter in place order that will be effective March 27, just before midnight, until 5 p.m. on April 10.

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