It appears lockdown has had some positive impact on the spread of COVID-19. Across the country,
the tourism industry has come to a standstill, jobs lost, revenue evaporated, and tax dollars that have never shown up. The tourism industry is desperate to restart, refire, and have everything go back to the way it was or, at least as close to possible as to the way it was. We need more testing is the medical voice. For some, it hard to grasp this invisible beast. That has seen its infection numbers increase daily.
The sun is out, bike trails and beaches beckon, and the virus seems so abstract. I feel great? It is spring and feeling like summer. What could it hurt? A hike here, a bike ride there, a to-go order to pick up food. What could be the problem? Look, Georgia is doing it. So are other places—opening up. Wouldn’t it be great to go to the gym or the pool to swim some laps? Who isn’t tired of yoga online? We all could use a haircut. Also, thinking about that summer road trip, where should we go?
Since COVID-19, the country has responded. We have quarantined, we have social distanced, we are wearing our masks and surgical gloves. Is it time to go back to some semblance of normal?
But as we let our thoughts wander to that normalcy, are we sowing the seeds of another disaster? The experts say we should have much more testing and that those results should guide our reopening strategy. But there are not enough tests. The country has failed woefully on testing.
But the weather is so lovely. Can’t we just try some normalcy? That beach or golf course looks inviting. Of course, we have even split politically on this. One side wants to be cautious, the other is asking if the cure greater than the disease? Each side is picketing, calling each other out. We are locked into an ideological battle inside a pandemic inside a divided county. The economic costs have been high-- families devastated financially, small businesses not likely to survive, and retirement accounts severely impacted. The health costs have been high, sickness and, death.
But we have somehow reached a point, not driven by science but despite science. We will try some adjusted normalcy. We will reopen slowly, thoughtfully. We don’t have the data we would love to know for sure, but it sure feels good to be out there. We are willing to take the bet. What if what we are doing precisely what we should not be doing to slay this beast in the long run. What if we waited a couple of months more?
Right now we are living in a paradox. We’re living a contradiction. Tourism lives off crowds; financial statements are based on maximizing crowds and visitor spending. Revenues and tax collections are based on packing them in. Quarantining and social distancing are still needed to overcome the virus. But we need to move forward to some kind of adjusted normalcy, jobs, revenues, and taxes. The funny thing about a paradox is in time they end. One side of the paradox changes and the paradox collapses.
If we only knew.
About SMG Consulting
SMG Consulting, located in South Lake Tahoe, is a strategy consulting firm specializes in the tourism and recreation industry. For more information www.smgonline.net