Feeling down? Watching too much news and letting some of the negativity get to you? Time for us optimists to lend a hand here. Once we are all done getting cooped up, we need some good news – and good thinking – to come out of our quarantine. Here are some semi-predictions that look to be on the horizon.
- Everyone and their mother is going to want to go out to eat and do stuff. Your mother should probably stay home. If restaurant and theater owners can hang on for a few more weeks, they may likely see MASSIVE business when they reopen – and they need to be very careful. Seat spacing between tables may need to be increased and restaurant-goers are going to need to be ready for long wait times – and maybe have reservations so that lots of people are not waiting outside. Yep – time for reservations at Applebee’s. Disney, in particular, is going to have to have a good strategy for dealing with crowd issues as well.
- Home-buying and refinancing extravaganza. We are already seeing a LOT of refinancing going on because we are at near-historic lows on interest rates. If you have never refinanced before, now is the time to look into it. We have not seen rates this low for about seven years.
- Reduction in business travel, and change in business communication. In-person meetings will take a different turn once this is all over. Being able to see people face-to-face via internet is going to decrease a lot of business travel – and we may even lose a major airline and hotel chain over it. I personally see a reduction in business travel as a positive – much is wasteful (particularly inter-company) and many meetings can (and should) be done online.
- Online sales and sellers continuing to increase. The quarantine has led to a sizeable boom for many selling online through outlets like ebay or facebook marketplace. My personal side gig selling online has seen a huge lift. I think we will see this trend continuing as well as more people adapt to the convenience of online buying. What results is NOT just Amazon getting more wealthy – but there are a lot of side sellers who use Amazon and ebay (and other platforms) for selling and reselling who are seeing benefits.
- While we may LOSE a major brick-and-mortar retailer, I wonder if the month back we will not see a rise in retail sales at the store as people go out once restrictions are lifted.
- Online legal hearings, particularly for administrative issues. Some courts are beginning to use online hearings to keep up with calenders. and we may see it lead to a for online hearings for mundane matters – which will save on court costs and client money and time.
- New Startup businesses. We will see a nice handful of American success stories arise out of the pandemic. Some people who lost their jobs are going to have created their own business and wind up millionaires. Someone got holed up too long, sat down with an idea they needed time to work out, and will come out the other side with some neat new invention. To this end, we need governments – national, state, and local – to get out the way when this is done and let the American creative spirit take hold. We need to have environments that allow new businesses to thrive.
- Increased church attendance – for some. I wonder if we will not see church attendance increase for the more evangelical denominations (and decrease for mainline denominations). People who consider church a serious – or even semi-serious – matter will flock back when they can. People who attend and see little to no difference from sleeping in Sunday morning or going may be more likely to stay home.
- The academic bubble bursting. Universities that are now offering and continue to offer discounted online courses are going to have a competitive advantage over those that will try and go back to the older model. We may see more and more college kids staying away from campus if they can get the same – or similar – education from home, particularly if they can save money.
I will leave the negativity for other articles by other folks. I see the COVID-19 epidemic as an opportunity to look at what we can get right, what we can change, and what we can build.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings