How do businesses prepare for the second wave of COVID? The second, and bigger, wave is upon us in a huge way here in the U.S. Europe is also experiencing a significant problem, but not like ours.

Last night, ABC World News Tonight reported that 130,000 people had tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday (Friday the 13th.) I remember when alarm bells were raised when we hit 50,000 positive tests.

What does this mean for businesses?

  • There are going to be more “stay-at-home” orders
  • The velocity of business will slow
  • Many more businesses and their employees will suffer due to closures and orders to be open fewer hours or allow fewer people
  • We need a stimulus package
  • There will be an economic impact until we can get COVID19 under much better control
  • Businesses need to adapt to survive

This article from Yahoo Business has more in-depth business tips to prepare for the second wave. 

The COVID-19 positivity numbers are above 40% in some states right now like North and South Dakota. This is like an out-of-control wildfire with arsonists lighting fires everywhere they go. 

While there is talk in Washington of “help being on the way” in the form of a vaccine, for the vast majority of Americans, that vaccine likely will not be available until late Q2 of 2021. Without the vaccine, we are horribly exposed.

One of the people on my team constantly reminds me, “the best mask is your house.” That assumes, of course, you don’t have people entering your home for social gatherings or visits.

Some of the worst places for COVID-19 are indoor restaurants, gyms, and hotel rooms; places where people are maskless more, their mouths are open more, and they take more breaths per minute than normal.

With winter coming, outdoor dining may be more challenging. Holiday gatherings may be more difficult. The temptation to ignore safety guidelines will be high. But, there are alternatives that will help us slow the spread.

Business owners, take note; in frigid climates, businesses thrive when they adapt to meet the needs and wants of consumers when the environment changes. Customers will come if you create the ability for them to do so in the changing social environment.

Back in December 2002, I had a business trip to The Netherlands and Finland. My last night in Finland, I took a 2.5-hour train ride from Tampere to Helsinki as my flight departed early the next morning. I walked from the train station to my hotel and then bundled up and walked around the major department stores to see what I could see. The department stores weren’t in enclosed malls…they were accessible from the street.

Many people were attending Christmas parties so it was quite a festive evening. What I hadn’t counted on was having my hotel room directly above a bus stop. The raucous behavior at the bus stop below continued until about 5:30 a.m. I had a 6 a.m. call to get up and head to the airport. It wasn’t a very restful night but it was nice to see people enjoying the company of each other on a freezing night. 

What’s the point, Dave?

  • We can adapt to being outdoors more. Much more than we in the U.S. have become accustomed to.
  • Maybe we can continue to have outdoor dining with heaters during the coming months.
  • Maybe we can adapt to a situation that would be considered unimaginable in years past.

When the gyms were closed in the Phoenix Arizona area, some insightful, adaptable, and determined gym owners moved gym equipment outdoors. They adapted to a new version of “the gym” and gave customers a way to enjoy their services without the walls (and risk).

How can you make adjustments in this new environment to accommodate customer and employee needs and wants?

2020 has certainly been a year for abandoning “norms.” Given the COVID-19 vaccine availability, our only course of actions are:

  • wearing a mask
  • social distancing
  • following CDC guidelines
  • sanitizing
  • hand washing
  • eliminate touching our face
  • avoid prolonged indoor exposure to others, even with a mask

These guidelines aren’t political in nature—they are actions we can take to protect ourselves and others. And, they can also help our doctors and nurses combat the explosive growth of the virus—the healthcare system is on the verge of a complete breakdown.

Effective and agile leadership paired with the adoption of safe practices will help with businesses adapting to COVID-19 and weather this storm. 

Stay safe. Be well. Be agile.

Thought for the week:

“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,” Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s leading infectious-disease expert, said in a wide-ranging interview late Friday. “All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”


Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner is a management consultant, speaker, author, and blogger based in Silicon Valley. He's been in the front row for the birth and evolution of Silicon Valley, the innovation capital of the world. Since 1992, Dave Gardner focuses on making the complex simple around people, process and technology. Dave is the author of Mass Customization: An Enterprise-Wide Business Strategy - How Build to Order, Assemble to Order, Configure to Order, Make to Order, and Engineer to Order Manufacturers Increase Profits and Better Satisfy Customers.

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