Ojai Valley News Editorial on OPINION page March 20: A new test for Ojai

Ojai has faced many challenges over the years, and this pandemic is a new one for us. What we do next, and how we cope with adversity will shape who we are as a community. Decisions people are proud of rarely follow fear and panic. Ojai is a special place, and what that means is being tested in a new way. 
There are many people all around us who are already rising to the challenge, thinking about what is needed, solving problems, and anticipating the needs of our community. Our City Council and city manager have, among many important actions, put hand-washing stations about town, provided for parking zones for food pick-ups at local restaurants, and put a moratorium on evictions inside the city. 
Our Chamber of Commerce has created and delivered signs to businesses free of charge; Ojai Unified School District is providing lunch and breakfast to students for the duration of the emergency; our grocery stores have set early shopping hours for seniors and pregnant women; restaurants have quickly changed their business models to continue cooking for us; the Ojai Valley News has made all health-related articles free on our website; our local healthcare providers are caring for us and provided important information and advice to residents published in the Ojai Valley News.
Social distancing doesn’t mean stay a stranger. Big smiles and waves are welcome, even though handshakes are out. Please stay in touch with us at the Ojai Valley News. Let us know about what you see in our community. Send your letters and news tips. Free local events — even if virtual — are free to list in our paper and always free to read at www.ojaivalleynews.com. This is our time to come together as a community, even while staying apart.
Now is the time to come to the aid of our neighbors and be the person we would want to meet. Even from a distance, residents can support local businesses and the local economy. Continue paying those you can afford to, even when their services temporarily cease, buy local (while resisting the temptation to hoard). Subscribe to this vital local resource so we can keep bringing it to you!
And in the words currently on the Ojai Playhouse marquee, “Stay healthy, helpful and kind.” 


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