Happy June! It seems like we’ve been in Winter forever with the COVID-19 government shutdowns and everyone is seemingly chomping at the bit to get outside, see others, and usher in Summer in 3 weeks. Is the COVID-19 threat over or at least largely diminished? Many feel the pain of the government restrictions on work and play and quite a few questions remain as to was the cure worse than the disease.
So, what now? We here in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania are hopeful for a move to YELLOW on the governor’s stoplight scale of reemergence later this week. Restaurants have been given the greenlight to serve cocktails to go (what could possibly go wrong there?) and are making preparations for a wholly different dining experience when they get to green. Speaking of green, I have great concerns over the survival of many restaurants with such restrictions in place. Like many of us small business owners, these restaurateurs have poured their life’s work into their businesses only to have them shut down by the government (yes because of a virus), and to be only allowed to reopen under heavy modifications and with greatly diminished seating capacity. Our prayers are with our friends in this space as they continue to grind to make their livings.
As we emerge from our domicile cocoons, we all are going to be facing widely differing opinions and expectations from others on how to move forward. Is it back to business as usual? Is this the new normal? What does this new normal look like? How long until things recede back to the way they were pre-COVID-19? Or does that never happen? As business owners and fellow business people, it is our responsibility to lead our communities back to their previous vitality. We need to remain agile and responsive to the needs of the individuals and organizations we do business with and strive to accommodate thoughts, opinions and actions that do not always coincide with our own. Communication and honesty will carry the day here more often than not. Please be aware of how you are being perceived by others in the community. Seek to establish understanding with others needs ahead of advancing business agendas. We will all be better off because of it.
The unfortunate rioting in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder has really brought to question just how much social distancing we will see going forward. Mobs of people huddled closely together marching and protesting (sometimes peacefully, sometimes not) racial injustice have been going for days with no perceivable end in sight. Once this does end, will there be a spike in COVID-19 cases? If not, is there any chance the social distancing guidelines remain in place as is? Will anyone comply? There is so much to consider as we make this move to reopen the economy and return to work. No one wants an exploding virus but we cannot afford to not reopen the country as quickly and safely as possible. It will take all of our collective efforts. The business leaders of our community need to set the example and lead the way. Both for our physical as well as economic health. Good luck to all! Stay safe and get to work!!