People don’t like abrupt change. For example, if social distancing rules were lifted tomorrow I doubt that fans would fill Fenway Park. Not out of spite for John Henry (Mr. Henry was forced to trade a prime MVP player because the Red Sox prematurely signed a now injured Chris Sale to a massive contract), but out of fear. Fear of not knowing whether it is safe to return.
Crowds won’t gather for ballgames and other social occasions until fear begins to dissipate. This portends a gradual economic recovery that will look different in different parts of the country. The fog of fear won’t uniformly burn off as it does over Torrey Pines. It will take on micro formations across the country as it does across the Bay Area. New York has likely seen the worst of COVID, but the town where our northern office is located has barely been touched. That could all change in the next few weeks as vacationers travel north (or will they?) Other U.S. geographies will see a similar ebb and flow. Further, new COVID cases are being reported out of Wuhan. This is not good news for those hoping for international travel to reopen nor for those who hoped COVID would be “one and done.” It now feels more like the seasonal flu.
Now is the time to identify opportunities to mitigate the risk of exposure to airborne disease while simultaneously driving operating efficiencies. Enterprise grade technologies that allow for remote Board meetings, earnings calls, sales training, operating reviews and the like should be leveraged. Microsoft’s (tkr: MSFT), Skype and Teams products immediately come to mind. Adobe (tkr: ADBE) and DocuSign (tkr: DOCU) do as well.