Local news is always important, but as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, the news has taken on an even more important role. With that role, it’s also important for readers to know that their newspapers are safe to touch.
Mike Hjort, production manager at Ladysmith Press said that the printing process ensures the security of newspapers. Ladysmith Press is responsible for printing nearly all of the weekly newspapers on Vancouver Island.
“We’re barely touching the papers as they run,” Hjort said. “When it comes through all the machinery, we have a guy that picks the bundles up and puts them on a skid. He wears gloves when he does it.”
When press workers check a paper for print quality, they grab one copy, read through it, then throw it away, so that copy does not end up in the hands of another reader.
The nature of working on a press is conductive to social distancing even in times without virus concerns. Hjort also said that press workers must stay home if they are sick.
After the papers leave the press, they head to the mail room. Mailroom workers wear gloves while handling the papers.
As for paper carriers, who are the frontline representatives for delivering newspapers in their communities, they have been encouraged to wear gloves, wash their hands regularly, and refrain from touching door handles and mail boxes. Carriers and drivers are also following precautionary measures of social distancing, and limiting social interaction.
“Everyone is thinking safety, not only for us, but for the customer,” Hjort said. “If we were worried about any of our employees getting sick we wouldn’t let them be here.”