News coverage will not stop as Dispatch puts safety first

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The Daily Dispatch is taking steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus so that we can continue to bring you all the latest updates as well as all the news you should know in the province.

Even though  Dispatch reporters have not come into contact with anyone infected with the virus, general manager Ryan Megaw and editor Chiara Carter are leaving nothing to chance.

Megaw said there were backup plans in place in case company buildings were closed or became inaccessible.

He said the Dispatch was committed to telling the story of the unfolding pandemic.

Accurate and trustworthy information was critical at this time and the team of journalists and photographers “will continue to bring you the news no matter what”.

“To this end we have put in place measures to ensure that all of our staff are protected, and will continue to intensify these measures in the coming days,” he said.

Megaw said practical measures already in place included employees with existing chronic conditions  working from home wherever feasible.

“Chronic conditions means pre-existing conditions which may make them susceptible to infection or which make exposure for them risky.”

He said there was increased cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces in the offices. Hand sanitisers and disinfectant wipes were placed in buildings and vehicles.

There was “improved hand washing measures including better soap and disposable hand towels”, said Megaw.

Social distancing measures have also been put in place, and staff are now sitting well away from one another.

Several staff members who have travelled both locally and internationally are self isolating and have not returned to work or are working from home.

For international travel this measure has been in place since early February.

Megaw said a travel ban had been in place for a week for both local and international travel.

Eve though journalists were having to go out to stories, Megaw said: “Meetings with outside people are being kept to a minimum and taking place only if they are absolutely essential.”

“We are currently testing our work-from-home capabilities in all departments and further measures in this regard will be implemented in the days to come if appropriate. Safety protocols are in place for journalists who may be required to enter high-risk areas.

“We are making sure that measures are in place so we can continue to deliver newspapers, particularly to our subscribers who are at home, and have introduced reduced pricing for both print and online subscription options so as many people as possible can get in-depth news,” he said.

Covid-19 news is available free of charge on DispatchLIVE.