While this global pandemic has caused everyone a lot of heartache, due to missed family events, vacations, employment and educational disruptions, it has also forced us to make some changes we might want to keep when COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror.
Work From Home (WFH)
Working from home, for those whose job permitted it, eliminated daily commutes. Just this one change has meant giving those families more time together, more money to save or spend on other things and more life satisfaction overall. For our environment, the reduction in fuel consumption has been a plus as well.
Home: The Place for Dinner & a Movie
Staying at home has meant that our giant screen TVs have become our movie screens. This hasn’t been lost on film makers, as they are now making movies more readily available to watch at home.
Additionally, retailers and food providers are now competing to deliver their goods to your home as fast as Amazon Prime does.
Road Trip America
Since COVID-19 has seen countries around the world take down their “Welcome Americans” signs, we’re discovering America’s great outdoors. RVs & camper sales are up, and the nation’s parks and campgrounds are full, as we take to the woods where social distancing has always been part of the experience.
Restaurants & Broadband
While dining al fresco is fun and provides social distancing for diners, many cities are closing down their main streets to vehicle traffic in order to make them both pedestrian and dining friendly.
Much like we are using our smartphones to order restaurant take-out, high speed internet service is now essential for work, education and entertainment in our homes.
Small Business Survival
Dion Rabouin, author of Markets, writes that “small businesses are losing confidence in their survival.” We’re six months into this global pandemic and American small business is nowhere near returning to “normal.”
The current unemployment situation reveals that in every state, more people are unemployed than jobs available. That means moving to another state won’t make a difference for an unemployed person because the same problem has hit every single community in the country.
Maybe more worrisome is that we are seeing a K-Shaped Recovery, taking place due to COVID-19. Which means a recovery where the rich become richer, the big become bigger, the poor become poorer, and the small become extinct.
We’re seeing this now with Wall Street’s growth, versus Main Street’s demise.
Following the “Great Recession” of 2008, we saw something similar happen as America went through recovery. Though it happened gradually and occurring almost unnoticed by many,
This global pandemic is the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a fire, it acts like an accelerant. Things that were going to come to pass in time, are now happening at warp speed.
While big box retailers and Wall Street are dancing with delight, mom-and-pop shops and local service establishments are fighting for their very survival.
Local Radio & Newspapers
Having a K-Shaped Recovery means that local media enterprises, that depend on Main Street for their advertising revenue, will suffer the same consequences.
Big media companies having more access to the technology that’s playing a role during COVID-19 will shape the recovery. Big media companies are less dependent on Main Street, as the bulk of their revenues originate on a regional and national level.
The same inequality that has been bifurcating American society since the early 80s and has made achieving revenue goals for local media companies more difficult with each passing year, is reaching a tipping point with COVID-19. The very rapid evolution of society during this global pandemic is exacerbating inequality; of people, businesses, health, education, and opportunities.
Even after we have discovered therapeutics and/or a vaccine to deal with COVID-19, the way the world was pre-COVID won’t be returning.