The last six weeks at The Dispatch have been pretty lonely, as most people have stayed home while restrictions have been in place because of the coronavirus.

Today marks the first time some of those restrictions have been lifted, with the governor’s stay-at-home order being allowed to expire yesterday. With that restriction lifted, The Dispatch office will be open the public once again, starting today.

In our opinion, it couldn’t have come at more welcomed time. We miss our readers. We miss talking to you, even though most of the time it’s just long enough for you to pick up a copy of the paper or pay your bill. We miss chatting to people on the street, joking about the crazy Kansas weather, running into familiar faces and old friends on the Courthouse Square.

We miss walking into a business and picking up something without having to call ahead. We miss not having to eat lunch at our desks, being able to dine in at a restaurant, and not having to use the drive-through to order fast food. We miss chatting with neighbors on their porches,  watching your kids and grandkids play a game -- even going to the doctor without having to have our temperature checked first.

Of course, all of those things and most of those restrictions aren’t going away on Monday, but the stay-at-home order expiring is a step in the right direction.

Like every other business, we have to change how we do business to best accommodate you, even after we’ve opened our doors to the public. Those changes include:

1) JUST ONE CUSTOMER AT A TIME, PLEASE. If you see that we’re helping another customer, please stay outside until that customer leaves. There’s a bench right by our front door, or you can wait curbside or in your car.

2) PLEASE UTILIZE OUR COURT STREET DROP-BOX FOR PAYMENTS. If you all you’ve got to do is drop off your payment to renew your paper or pay an advertising bill, that can be done at our drop box located on Court Street, at the red door next to City Hall.

3) PICK UP PAPERS IN THE FIFTH STREET DROPBOX. You’re welcomed to come inside and grab a paper, of course. We will also have papers set out in the drop box by our front door on Fifth Street for people who don’t want to wait or still want to limit their contact with other people as much as they can.  

4) IF YOU CAN, CALL OR E-MAIL US INSTEAD. We’re limiting foot traffic through our door, so please continue to do as much business as you can over the phone or by e-mail. You can call us at (785) 632-2127. E-mail requests for ads to Sarah at addesk@claycenter.com, circulation questions to Tricia at circulation@claycenter.com, news tips to Ryan news@claycenter.com and all other questions and requests to Alicia at claycenterdispatch@gmail.com.

5) REMEMBER, CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS ARE STILL IN PLACE. We seem to be on the downslope, but the coronavirus crisis is not over. Please honor other restrictions the state and CDC have recommended, to include no more than 10 people gathering in one place, maintaining six feet of “social distancing” between people and other recommendations. Do not come in if you are sick, aren’t feeling well or have recently been screened for the coronavirus.

We miss you immensely. We know you feel the same way.  

-- Ryan D. Wilson