CULTON: We will survive this

It’s undeniable that now is a scary time.

Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a “stay home, stay safe” executive order, which mandates that Michigan residents suspend all activities that are “not necessary to sustain or protect life” until April 13. The order threw many for a loop and means that many local businesses will need to temporarily close, and residents will need to stay inside to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

I know you are scared, and I’m not going to lie to you — I’m scared, too. I’m scared for my aging parents, both of whom are over the age of 60 and have preexisting conditions that put them at risk of serious illness if they were to contract COVID-19. I’m scared for my friends who are now out of work and don’t know how they will pay rent. I’m scared for our local businesses, many of which will have a hard time bouncing back from this.

But what I am not doing is running scared. As a news reporter, it’s in my nature to want to be on the front lines of a crisis. I want to be the first to tell a story and tell it right to ensure the public’s right to know, dispel rumors and make sure the truth gets out there. Throughout this shutdown, I will continue to do just that. As the governor’s order lists reporters as critical infrastructure workers, Leader Publications’ staff will still be working hard for you to report on the truth of what is happening during this crisis.

While I know the vast majority of our readers are not reporters or exempt from the governor’s order, I would still encourage all of you to not run scared, either. Don’t let fear overtake you; don’t spread misinformation; and — for the love of God — don’t hoard all the toilet paper.

If we all keep level heads and work together to get through the shutdown, we will survive this. While we may not be able to spend time together physically, we can still come together as a community. Calm and uplift each other online.  Support local businesses and order carry out from restaurants if you are able. Most importantly, follow the governor’s order and stay home as much as possible. By staying home, you can slow the spread of the coronavirus and help keep your neighbors and loved ones healthy.

Our communities are long-established and have endured harsher storms. We will survive this — we just need to work together.