THESE are difficult and, for some, absolutely terrible, times.

They are unprecedented in our lifetime.

But we will get through the coronavirus pandemic and that will happen by working together and helping each other.

In that spirit today the Gazette begins its Backing Essex Business campaign.

The county needs to come out of this crisis fighting.

The fantastic businesses we have must be given every chance to survive.

They are getting support from the Government and many have already thought up new and innovative ways to keep trading.

This has to be done in a responsible way, of course, with social distancing vitally important as we work to stop the spread of Covid-19.

We want to highlight the selfless work already being carried out by the likes of McDonald’s handing food out to the needy.

And we also want to shine a light on those who continue to trade and do what they can to keep people safely in work.

Last week we pledged we would always be #ThereWithYou.

Today, we are extending our support to our business community.

We pledge to back our local, independent and family-run businesses, doing what we can to help them through this difficult time.

And we are calling on our readers to join us.

Let’s highlight the positive things going on in our community.

Let’s shout proudly and loudly about the local businesses which are still open in Essex.

And we are asking readers and businesses which can to help us in this campaign.

Gazette editor Gary Pearson said: “What we are beginning to see now is the best in people.

“These are stressful and frightening times.

“It all still feels like a bad dream.

“It is hard for businesses who need to keep going so they can thrive again when coronavirus has been contained.

“To be honest it is hard for the Gazette and all newspapers too, but it is vital we continue to get true and accurate information out there which people desperately need at this time.

“There is so much information out there on social media and the internet.

“But we are bringing the latest information together, from scientists, doctors, our councils and the Government and we can be a voice to all of you who are confined but not beaten.

“When people are expressing their opinion, it is clearly described as such and not dressed up as fact. We must continue to champion businesses too.

“If you have any examples of a business going above and beyond then please get in touch by emailing

“Our sales team also continues to work during the pandemic to advertise services and keep businesses alive during these most testing of times.”

Senior sales manager Chloe Walsh said: “We are best placed to lead on this campaign as we reach a huge percentage of the local population.

“As this crisis develops, the communities we serve will continue to rely on us to keep them informed.

“We have already seen a significant increase in traffic to the Gazette website and we know our papers are voraciously read.

“We will ensure we are really banging the drum for independent and family-owned businesses and encouraging our loyal readership to show their support by shopping local.

“Any business which wants to be featured in our campaign should get in touch.

“I have also instructed my team to reach out to these businesses over the coming days and make them aware of our campaign, many of these businesses have supported us for several years by advertising their products and services within our titles and at this time it is appropriate we show our support.

“If any other businesses would like to come on board as a partner I urge them to reach out to me directly.”

Readers can support the campaign by using the hashtag #BackingEssexbusiness.

You can shout out a local business which has gone above and beyond, or tell us about the ways your business is coping.

For more information about supporting the campaign, email