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Readers have thoughts on how local businesses, schools and churches are reacting to the coronavirus.

Local economy struggles because of reaction to coronavirus

I am reaching out to you today addressing the article related to our economy that was written recently called "COVID-19: McMenamins closes, lays off 3,000 over coronavirus." My concern is why we are amplifying such economic despair during such a tough time when there are several solutions we can provide to restaurant closures without laying people off, and altering people's families.

Although this coronavirus outbreak has been a huge epidemic, I don't understand why McMenamins is laying 3,000 people off and closing locations. They could just do what every other restaurant that has closed is doing and provide take out and or delivery orders over the phone. This way, workers aren't being laid off and people can still feed their families during this tragedy.

Read KOIN 6 News' report from March 17, 2020, on McMenamins closing and laying off employees.

My next question is, although it is mentioned that there will be "unemployment benefits," how will these benefits protect citizens from the virus if they aren't being paid to work and can't put meals on the table for their families?

It is important that we as a state of Oregon and as a nation respond to this virus outbreak in a fashion that does everything we can to ensure the best safety but also the best economy possible, because the market has taken enough hits already. In my opinion, restaurants can still fully operate, as long as we eliminate the large gatherings inside. This can also be done without laying off 3,000 people, and closing locations.

Noah Lewis, Forest Grove

Pacific University cares for students in a crisis

There are not many people I can think of who aren't currently being affected by COVID-19.

As a college student, I have heard many stories of students being given only a few days to pack up their whole room with very little services or help provided. I am proud to say that the place I chose to get my education, Pacific University, has adequately handled this situation by giving students time to collect their thoughts, consult with family, and make rational decisions without kicking students out or taking away what could be their only means to food and a safe space.

Furthermore, the university reached out to students recently to offer a refund for housing and dining services if they have left or plan to leave campus before the remainder of the semester.

This is a reflection of the thought and care Pacific University has for its students to ensure every student is capable of reaching success.

Professors and staff of Pacific University, in my experience, have made it their number-one priority that students are well prepared and offered help during this transition. Many students have never taken an online class and need the structure and support of one-on-one help, which professors are determined not to take away from students despite the unconventional situation.

Another notable figure of the Pacific community is Janalei Chun, director of Pacific's Hawai'i Club Na Haumana O' Hawai'i. Aunty Jana makes sure all of her students are taken care of and welcomes every student at Pacific University with open arms. She makes sure everyone has food to eat, a ride to storage or the airport, and support through any troubles.

Pacific has a great team of faculty and staff that puts their students first.

Nova Rivera, Forest Grove

Time to fly flags to show our solidarity

Just thinking about the coronavirus and all of us being in this together. As with 9/11, we showed solidarity by flying our flags outside our homes.

Why not promote this idea again and choose a date and have all Oregonians fly their flags to show we are supporting one another? We will get through this and we need to stand together. Thank you.

Nancy Holden, Beaverton

Religious congregations have duty to stay home

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is to be commended for the stay-at-home order that she issued a short time ago.

It is imperative for faith communities not just to support this law but to communicate the importance of social distancing to parishioners so that we might stop the spread of COVID-19.

So many churches, temples and mosques have done just that by moving services online. But not all.

Some of the most significant outbreaks in South Korea, New York City and Washington, D.C., have occurred in houses of worship. We must practice a #FaithfulDistance to protect public health. As we do so, social distancing cannot become social isolation.

It is critical that all Oregonians pick-up the phone and check on neighbors, particularly the most vulnerable. This is a time to live out the Greatest Commandment. We must love our neighbors by doing our part to stop the spread of this illness.

The Rev. Chuck Currie

Director, Center for Peace and Spirituality

University Chaplain, Pacific University


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