Dear Readers,

The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread disruption to the lives of everyone in Tampa Bay and to so many businesses in our community. Here at the Tampa Bay Times, we continue to provide free, up-to-date information at as a public service. But we need your help. Please consider supporting us by subscribing or donating, and by sharing our work. Thank you.

  1. Opinion

In this time of coronavirus, here’s some uplifting news | Editorial

From local pantry boxes supporting small businesses to breweries creating hand sanitizer, here are some pieces of good news.
A woman poses with a mask she sewed; 3 Daughters Brewing's hand sanitizer [Times files]

It’s easy to get lost in the sea of bad news during a time like this. But there are plenty of inspiring stories to be had through the actions of our local businesses and community members. Here are just a few.

Local businesses supporting each other

View this post on Instagram

TODAY IS THE DAY: one of my dreams. i have gathered some makers in the area to create PANTRY BOXES — available in 4 TIERS based on bare essentials, and moving upwards. each maker is getting 100 percent of the dollars you see next to their names. available in highly limited quantities, so that we don’t overload the two farmers involved. EVERY SINGLE RETAIL DOLLAR GOES TO THAT PARTICULAR BUSINESS. i have also loaded (FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER) my cookies as a product on the product page, in quantities of 6 or 12. this has zero cap. you can buy 100000 of them. THIS IS HOW I STAY AFLOAT. PLEASE GO CHECK IT ALL OUT! LINK IN MY BIO. and PLEASE STAY SAFE. flyer made by @sarahsiroky!

A post shared by katie’s fine cookies, llc. (@katiesfinecookies) on

With Gov. Ron DeSantis ordering all restaurants to move to take-out or delivery service on Friday, small businesses that serve food or sell items have been struggling to find a way to profit in this time of coronavirus. In an inspiring twist, Tampa Bay local makers banded together to create care packages that can be purchased as bundles. The initiative, jumpstarted by local business Katie’s Fine Cookies, allows buyers to purchase packages of eggs, vegetables, bread and bagel buns, as well as fun items like candles and soap. The pantry boxes are already so popular that they’ve largely sold out on her website, so get them while they’re still here.

Donating masks

Sien Lagae, shows her creation of a mouth mask, meant to help protect from the spread of COVID-19, that she produced on her sewing machine at home in Torhout, Belgium. [SIEN LAGAE | AP]

There is real demand for community members to start sewing their own masks. Perhaps nothing is evidence of that more than a page on JoAnn’s Fabrics and Craft Stores that shows “how to make a face mask” and asks people to help support the country’s medical personnel. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also announced the company is donating an emergency reserve of 720,000 face masks that it had compiled in case of wildfires in California.

Breweries turn into hand sanitizer stations

3 Daughters Brewing says they've made over 4,000 containers of hand sanitizer in a Facebook post Monday. [3 Daughters Brewing Facebook]

Last week, St. Petersburg brewery 3 Daughters Brewing announced that they would be creating and bottling their own hand sanitizer. While the demand was so high that they changed their initial decision to hand out the sanitizer, instead donating it to community nonprofits, the gesture still remains. And they are not alone in doing so. St. Petersburg distillery Kozuba & Sons said that they would be shifting to focus on creating hand sanitizer and “using the highest grade spirit that otherwise would have been used to make vodka.” Bradenton’s Motorworks Brewing also partnered with Tampa distillery Dark Door Spirits to create hand sanitizer, which they will donate to first responders and nursing homes, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash, Editor of Editorials Tim Nickens, and editorial writers Elizabeth Djinis, John Hill and Jim Verhulst. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news.