The reopening of America is a story of businesses adapting to a new normal, one where customers are at least 6 feet apart, and everyone is wearing masks. It’s a story of car dealerships launching virtual showrooms and real estate agents conducting more home tours and other services via video.
It’s a story of restaurants adding more space between tables, expanding outdoor seating and increasing their cleaning protocols to begin opening their doors with limited capacity. And it’s the story of how our schools, our favorite downtown shops and the country’s largest retailers are preparing for an economic reawakening that is spreading across the nation as restrictions are being lifted.
It’s a story that can only be uniquely told by the USA TODAY Network’s more than 260 local newsrooms across the nation and our flagship USA TODAY. The story is different depending on where you live and what stage of reopening your state is currently in.
But in many ways, the story is the same: As each community works to rebuild its economy, it will mean changes, challenges and opportunities to chart a new course post-pandemic.
Today, we introduce “Rebuilding America,” a bold and ambitious project that chronicles the country’s reopening through a dozen key economic drivers ––from real estate and the auto industry to higher education, travel and tourism.
For this project, journalists across the country examined both the national landscape of how these industries are navigating this uncertainty to how local businesses are reopening their doors safely. In conjunction with that strong independent reporting, our sales staff worked closely with more than 2,700 advertisers to help them craft their messages.
We have a deep commitment to telling our communities’ stories and to supporting local businesses.
In March, we launchedSupport Local, a platform designed to aid local businesses during this challenging time through gift card purchases and other measures. We recently added Volunteer Match to the site to connect willing volunteers to aid communities impacted by COVID-19.
We know this is not a story that will be told in one day. We’ve been here since before this pandemic started, and we’ll be here long after it is over. We hope you’ll join in the journey of “Rebuilding America” as we all work together to build toward a new future.
Please keep reading. Keep supporting local businesses. And know that we are in this together.
— Maribel Perez Wadsworth, president of news for the USA TODAY Network and publisher of USA TODAY
— Kevin Gentzel, chief revenue officer for the USA TODAY Network/Gannett