With coronavirus cases again spiking around the country, public health officials are confronting a growing problem: People aren’t listening to them. They’re getting on crowded planes, gathering in groups without masks, and otherwise doing things that are stoking the spread of the virus. And it’s leading to hospitals filling up once again.
Some of this is irresponsibility, but that’s not the only reason. After months of getting conflicting information from experts, many people have doubts about how reliable the information they’re getting really is – especially when they see so many officials getting “busted” breaking the rules they’re trying to get the public to follow. Did you see the headlines about Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who urged residents to stay home and “not relax” about the pandemic – while vacationing in Mexico?
As vaccines become available, I think we’re going to be facing several more months of uncertainty about who to believe, if not more. Rolling out a project of this magnitude doesn’t happen without hitches, and glitches. Some people are inevitably going to have bad reactions. Vaccine supplies are going to run out. Lines are going to be long. Misinformation is going to proliferate.
That means leaders will have to continue to do what we’ve always done – rely on our entrepreneurial instincts to interpret and adapt to the business environment, day by day, week by week. Even if we achieve herd immunity faster than anyone is predicting, we’re going to be operating in a much more remote world going forward. Leaders are going to have to use their best judgement to figure out how to respond, where to make investments and when to hang back.
The businesses that recognize this are going to be the ones that do best. Those that keep trying to wait it out until the arrival of a vaccine will, frankly, close.
Look at restaurants. Here in New York City, the ones that are still open quickly jumped onto delivery apps to sell more takeout. Now they’re realizing that the fees these digital middlemen charge are eating into their meager profits and are experimenting with other solutions for online delivery. Sure they lost some money paying the app companies, but they’re still better off than the eateries that tried to rely on sit-down dining alone. Many of them have quietly shut their doors.
We’re adapting here, too. Many of you have attended our in-person events in the past. Now we’re holding them all virtually. And as a point of fact, we’re holding more of them (check the events calendar on our website to see what’s coming up that may be of interest to you). Lately, we’ve been trying to have a little extra fun with our online conference program. We know people are Zoomed out. When attendees registered for our Nashville Year-End Tax Planning & Virtual Cocktail Reception on November 19, we anticipated that everyone would miss the usual networking. So, we did the next best thing and sent every registrant a pumpkin spice mule drink kit ahead of time. Cheers!
Everyone is tired of the pandemic, the isolation it’s caused and the uncertainty it continues to bring. But it can also be an opportunity to try some ideas that you might not ordinarily attempt in better times, if you’re willing to wing it a little. No one is better at doing that than entrepreneurs, and if things get worse before they get better, as I’ve predicted, maybe we can have some fun on the path to more solid footing.
Last night was the beginning of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. The 8-day celebration commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C. Jews throughout the world celebrate with the lighting of the menorah, traditional food, games and gifts. For those of you celebrating, Happy Hanukkah.
Stay safe, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together.