Got my papers today. In the increasingly likely event that Gov. Tom Wolf adds Lackawanna to the list of seven counties he closed today, I’ll be free to travel — as long as I’m working.
Because Wolf rightly recognizes local newspapers as “life-sustaining” businesses, my colleagues and I received “Authorization of Movement Letters.” If Wolf orders county residents to stay home, anyone caught out will be required to show these letters to authorities. We are doing our best to protect ourselves, but “social distancing” and community journalism don’t mix.
I was out this morning reporting for my Wednesday column. Instead of returning to the newsroom, I came home. Chrissy is working from home, too, and office space is tight. She turned the master bedroom into an office that looks like Mission Control at NASA. I’m at the dining room table, stress-eating and batting down cats determined to nap on my laptop.
I’m thankful for the travel papers, but a little queasy about what they say about where this crisis is going. Needing papers to leave your home is the kind of limitation no American can be comfortable with for long. I don’t like the government knowing where I go, much less telling me I can’t go anywhere. This is the situation we are in. It’s creepy, but we’re in totally new territory. Staying safe means staying home.
We will do that whenever possible, but newspapers don’t report themselves. Today’s Times-Tribune has you covered with all the latest local and state developments in the COVID-19 crisis, including the first coronavirus-related death in Lackawanna County. We also have the sad news of the passing of Senior U.S. District Judge James M. Munley, a good man and lion of the local legal community.
On the lighter side, Staff Writer Joseph Kohut has the story of how a local restaurant’s charity inspired more giving. Read it here. It just might inspire you. If you see me out and about, I’m working. I got papers. How about you?
How did you spend this strange day? Maybe in the office, or at home with the kids. Maybe you’re a service worker, first responder or medical professional. Maybe there’s an unsung hero or someone who’s really struggling in your neighborhood we should know about. Email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll share your stories here.
The Times-Tribune is still here, and so are you. We will get through whatever comes next together, one day at a time. Hang in there, hunker down and wash your hands. And don’t leave home without a hall pass.