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CITY stops the presses, but not reporting 

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Tucked inside the print edition of CITY this week is the Annual Manual, our yearly guide to living, working, and playing in Rochester and its suburbs.

We realize there isn’t much living, working, or playing going on right now and that there won’t be for a while. The coronavirus pandemic has all of us more or less just existing.

But that won’t always be the case. If history is any guide — and it usually is — this, too, shall pass.

At CITY, we’re counting on it.

This week, the painful and unprecedented decision was made to suspend production of our print issue after the Annual Manual edition hits newsstands. We will continue to break news and bring you the stories you won’t find anywhere else online and around the clock at rochestercitynewspaper.com.

It is the hope of everyone at CITY that after weathering this health crisis we will return to printing a weekly edition for you to pick up at your favorite haunts around town and peruse at your leisure, as our readers have done for nearly 50 years.

Therein lies the problem for CITY at the moment. Most of the haunts that hosted CITY newsstands — restaurants, bars, coffee shops, cultural institutions, you name it — have gone dark, forced to shutter to help slow the spread of disease.

The pandemic has been described as a double whammy to alternative weekly newspapers. Not only have their distribution points dried up, but so have their advertisers, who were those very same restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and cultural institutions that brought the newspapers to readers.

Some of those places in and around Rochester remain open in a limited capacity, though, and we encourage you to support them as best you can for the benefit of our community. We’re all in this together.

On the news front, CITY is not alone. Dozens of alt-weeklies around the country have taken similar measures, and far more drastic ones, to muddle through the proverbial tunnel that right now seems awfully long.

Indeed, the number of our friends and neighbors testing positive for COVID-19 remains relatively small but is rising exponentially every few days. The outbreak in the United States is following the same pattern as in those countries that saw their first cases months and weeks before us. All signs point to the crisis worsening before it gets better.

In addressing New Yorkers on Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo warned the crisis would continue for “four months, six months, nine months.” The next day, President Donald Trump said it would end “very soon.” “A lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting,” he said.

However long the tunnel stretches, there will be light at the end of it. Know that all of us at CITY will be slogging our way through with you and that, when we reach the light, we’ll stand in it together.

News related and unrelated to the pandemic is critical at this juncture, and CITY is committed to delivering to you as much information as we can online — stories about your government at work, your health, arts and culture, the soundtrack of our city.

It is in part because of readers like you that we are able to do that. Last week, we launched our CITY Champions initiative. More than 100 people have since donated. If you value what we do, we invite you to give. We’re grateful for the support.

These are uncertain times for all of us. That’s the thing about epidemics, they take time and make no guarantees. And we’re not accustomed to things taking time. We’re a society of instant gratification.

The view of an empty city from the CITY newsroom atop the WXXI Public Media building on State Street is heartbreaking and frightening.

But one morning you will wake up and the sun will be shining, the streets will be teeming with people and cars, and a traffic jam will make you late for a meeting.

From the newsroom, we’ll see the parking lot at Monroe Community College across the street empty out at the end of the day only to be filled again by baseball fans filing in to catch a Red Wings game.

The collective nightmare will be over and we will bask in the thrum of the city where we live, work, and play.

David Andreatta is CITY’s editor. He can be reached at dandreatta@rochester-citynews.com.
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