This is the weirdest thing to happen in my life. I was standing 6+ feet away from an older woman yesterday, and she said the same thing to me.
A few weeks ago everyone was out at the bar. I picture a slow-motion flashback scene of people drinking, beers splashing, people smiling. Now we are all inside, and most of us are out of a job for now.
This sucks, and I am extremely empathetic to all of the businesses that are suffering. Many people are losing jobs because of this. When SXSW was cancelled, thousands of people lost huge income from tips or short-term gigs that they were dependent on. Once-a-year income spikes that they will not have this year.
I really do believe that in the long-term, this will just be a blip in history where we come out as a more intelligent species.
Here are some of the reasons I’ve come up with to be optimistic right now. I know life sucks, and I could probably write a longer piece about how much everything sucks.
Humans are beasts at solving problems
So we were obviously totally blindsided by this “novel” animal virus that mutated into a human virus somewhere in China. We have also been blindsided by hundreds of historical events throughout history. Every time some kind of disaster happens, we develop a resistance to future disasters with additional knowledge gained from the original disaster.
Right now, if we continue social distancing and the current lockdowns, it should drastically reduce the mysterious infection rate. Meanwhile, scientists are hard at work identifying the disease, and working on a vaccine and preventative measures.
Because of the unknown, we just had to lock it all down. We will get through this, move on, and our bars and restaurants will be flooded with people that are sick of sitting inside. Humans are social beings, and when this all blows over, everyone is going to need a drink.
Established companies are going to react to this pandemic with new policies, practices, and products. And new companies (and probably entire new industries) will start springing up left and right to take advantage of consumer needs in a post-Coronavirus world Automatic bathroom doors and officially licensed face masks are just two I’m banking on.
But I’m mostly keeping my eyes on what’s going to happen in bars and restaurants. The cleanliness of venues has always been a priority for managers and owners but after quarantine, customers are going to be more critical than ever.
If you ask me, digital payments are going to be huge moving forward. SIN’s parent company, UNION, will be rolling out a mobile app called TabbedOut in the next few weeks that allows customers to open and close their tabs without ever having to pass their credit card to a bartender or server. This also means you can tip and close your tab long after you’ve left a bar, saving time for the you and the bartender. (Bartenders also end up making higher tips due to a pre-selected tip feature)
This too shall pass
Pandemics in general, and this pandemic specifically, seem to last three to four months. This was true for South Korea, China, Singapore, etc. China is reporting (allegedly) no new cases and people are going back to work, for instance. We’re probably a few months behind China.
If you date the start of the U.S. version of this pandemic on March 1, that would put the end of this pandemic at the end of May optimistically.
Humans are being great to each other
Along with massive corporations donating millions to help the fight, small businesses around the country are doing their part to help, like this auto-body shop that donated their N95 masks to local hospitals.
Ford, Tesla, and GM are devoting massive resources to building ventilators and masks.
Titos Vodka has begun making hand sanitizer.
Basketball players are donating hundreds of thousands to venue staff that are out of work.
A network of Canadian scientists isolated the COVID-19 virus, which can now be replicated to come up with treatments, and vaccines.
An experimental vaccine began its first clinical trial as well. Normally vaccines take at minimum 12 months, but I think the spirit of 2020 innovation will make this a lot faster. Development processes that usually take years, are being reduced to months and days because of the state of things.
There is an explosion of creativity
Humankind has never ceased to amaze me with our ability to make light of horrible situations.
Down on Dirty Sixth Street in Austin, artists have covered wooden boards on bar windows with beautiful art! Check it out.
There have also been an explosion of Facebook groups where you can watch bartenders drink and give them tips. When else would something like that happen?
We got this
Despite the massive disruption to all of our lives, the loss of thousands of people, and the drastic effects on our economy, this is not the end of society or civilization. We will go on, and millions will be saved in the future from our learnings this time around.