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Coronavirus: The Coast lays off nearly 20 staff members, halts printing

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. Alexander Quon/Global News

The Coast has laid off nearly 20 staff members and is halting its print production because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter posted on the weekly newspaper’s website, publisher Christine Oreskovich and editor Kyle Shaw called the decision “a difficult step, without precedent in The Coast’s 27 years.”

“The base of local businesses whose advertising helps support The Coast — a base that tilts towards bars, restaurants and events — has been shut down,” the letter reads.

“That shut-down extends to our ticketing service and the events like Halifax Burger Week that we produce, as another way to raise money that helps support the newspaper.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus — 2 more presumptive cases identified in Nova Scotia, 5 now confirmed

The final edition of The Coast for the foreseeable future came out Thursday morning.

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“Save it as a collector’s edition, your time capsule of Halifax from before,” the letter continued.

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The paper will continue to report online with a “bare-bones” editorial staff. Oreskovich and Shaw said natural disasters of the past, including hurricane Juan, White Juan and hurricane Dorian, don’t compare to the struggle they’ve faced with COVID-19.

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“For The Coast, there were difficulties producing an issue for each Thursday after a storm, but we relished the challenge. Because that’s our role in the community,” they said.

“In the new normal, there’s no school. No going out for drinks after work. No going out. In many cases, no work. Don’t touch your face. Don’t hoard toilet paper. Don’t look for a copy of The Coast next Thursday.”

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You can read the full letter on The Coast’s website here.