We’ve been sheltering in place now for months, or what feels like months, and I am continually tortured by hearing R.E.M.’s “It’s The End of the World” in my head. It may seem like this really is the end of the world—but it’s not. And I believe it is time to get that song out of our heads and allow businesses to get back to work.
There are great stories out there about those in the private sector who have stepped up to help our neighbors, including our health care workers. Re-opening our businesses is a great step forward in these tough times.
All this sheltering-in-place/quarantining, with the face masks and social distancing, has impressed upon me the serious nature of this COVID-19 pandemic. But it’s about more than merely the pandemic; we have collectively slowed the economy and put record-numbers of people out of work all in the name of precaution. That will have health and well-being consequences, as well.
On April 27, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order No. GA-18 to start reopening some businesses starting May 1, as part of the strategic plan to reboot the Texas economy. This will allow in-store retail commerce and dine-in restaurant services. It will allow movie theaters, shopping malls, museums, and libraries to operate at 25 percent of the total listed occupancy. Also, golf.
I certainly support an incremental reopening of the economy, and I believe these are prudent measures to begin that process.
What’s more, I believe my fellow Texans can be depended upon to take the precautions necessary to make this work and to keep themselves—and each other—safe.
They’ve already demonstrated that kind of caring and conscientiousness, in stepping up to help out, at their own expense. We’ve seen it throughout the United States.
A company in Maine named Flowfold began its business selling wallets about 10 years ago, eventually expanding to backpacks and other bags made from recycled sailcloth. It was able to switch to production of personal protective equipment (PPE), and it’s now supplying the health care provider MaineHealth with hundreds of face shields every day.
Austin Couch Potatoes, a furniture store, began making masks and gowns a few weeks ago and has asked for volunteers who sew at home to help out. Their delivery drivers will even come pick them up from you.
Daily Harvest, a food company, launched a new product and hired out-of-work chefs to help them put together their new flavors and create content.
Rootline Vitamins has pivoted its scientists and nutrition experts to concentrate on the research and data around COVID-19 to provide better information to the community.
In Orange, California, The Strength Co. pivoted its business model from running two gyms in Orange County to building more than 200 home gyms across the country, manufacturing cotton face masks, and providing online coaching.
These businesses demonstrate the private sector’s ability to adapt and overcome serious challenges, and to give back to their communities.
Tough times reveal character. And these times dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, under social distancing and stay-at-home orders, have truly been tough times for employers and employees alike.
Yet the character revealed is one of strength and grit, and Americans’ character is ready to get back to work.