CityBeat Furloughs Beloved Staffers Due to Coronavirus Pandemic Impact

Basically, regular life is on hold as we deal with COVID-19

Mar 18, 2020 at 7:30 pm
CityBeat Furloughs Beloved Staffers Due to Coronavirus Pandemic Impact
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

As the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on both public health and the national and local economy continues to swell, elected officials, health care leaders and businesses have taken unprecedented measures — at least in our lifetime — to curb the spread of the virus and mitigate its effects. That means, whether voluntarily, preemptively or under direction, major events like the Flying Pig Marathon, Ohio’s primary election and even Sunday mass have been rescheduled or suspended; orders have been issued requiring social distancing in public; bars and restaurants have had to shut their dining rooms and shared spaces; live music events and theater runs have been canceled — basically, regular life is on hold as we deal with COVID-19.

And the effect of all of the above has had a direct impact on us here at the paper.

We are devastated to tell you CityBeat had to furlough seven staffers today. That’s across all departments — sales, circulation, production and editorial. And it sucks. It really, really sucks. We are all moving forward with the hope that these changes are temporary, and that as soon as the storm has passed, we will be able to bring back these integral and beloved staffers. But right now, we don’t have a timeline for that or even an example of similar events to look to for guidance.

“Today was absolutely heartbreaking. There is just no other way to put it,” says CityBeat publisher Tony Frank. “We are going through an unprecedented time and it is my hope that in the near future we can be business as usual with our entire team, just as it was one month ago. In the meantime, we are committed to Cincinnati, our advertisers and our readers, and will continue to be a champion for the city we love.”

The reality is CityBeat is and always has been a free publication, both in print and online — there’s no subscription fee and no paywall, which means our revenue relies 100 percent on Cincinnatians being able to gather at concerts, theaters, restaurants, bars, museums, festivals and even our own events. As advertisers have had to make tough decisions about their budgets to weather the quarantine, we just don’t have the ability to move CityBeat forward with our full staff. Those who have remained onboard have all taken significant pay cuts and will be acting in multiple roles.

Everyone who was furloughed today is an important part of this publication and has worked harder than one would think is humanly, or sanely, possible to inform, educate, entertain and sometimes probably even irritate our readers. And those of us steering the ship now will be working as hard as we can to provide that same important coverage.

We have no idea how this pandemic is going to affect us long-term, and everyone will need as much information as they can get. To continue to do our job, we need your support. Please consider donating to help keep CityBeat on stands and online. Every contribution matters.

We are grateful for you. We are grateful to be able to do our job. And we will continue to do so. 

Thank you,

Maija Zummo and the rest of the CityBeat family