Summer of Uncertainty
Whether you were waiting for a call to return to work or accepting that the call would never come, the only certainty was that life would not be the same. The service industry has seen a number of ups and downs over the decades but not as sharp as the last 6 months. Hotels, restaurants, clubs, and entertainment establishments were either closed, open, closed again, open with limits, or simply in limbo. The confusion spilled over to customers with the ever-popular question; "Are you open?" lingering in the air. So, where do we go from here?
Servers, Guest Service Reps, Room Attendants, and a multitude of other line-level workers, face a variety of labor reductions from furloughs to reduced work hours or ultimately layoffs. Companies were forced to make decisions that affected not only their bottom line but the lives of a great majority of their employees. A lot of these people, some of whom were the only earner of the household, waited for calls to return to work that never came. Others got a call instead to stay home for an extended period of time or for good. For most business owners these were not easy calls to make. Necessary evils in an unprecedented time. But for proprietors, these calls also came with the reality that their business levels warranted such calls.
The logistics of stay-at-home orders in the face of already mounting confusion added to the pain points of slowing the economy to a crawl. Some business owners did not know whether they should close, stay open, reduce capacity, or invest in social distancing and contactless options. On plenty of occasions, customers arrived at a business only to find adjusted hours, adjusted services, or closures that google searches could not keep up with. The frustration for customers mounted in addition to dealing with the anxieties of spending a lot more time in close quarters.
So what's next? The answer to this question changes on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. Politics, social and economic influences drive adjustments to timelines with unfettering opinions. No expert can predict what next week will bring with any amount of certainty. Safe assumptions aside, uncertainty is the new normal.
So as we try to make sense of these senseless times remember this; try to add as much normal as possible into your life. Make your bed, brush your hair and get dressed, step outside, have breakfast during breakfast time, call your family and for heaven's sake, spend a little time making someone else's life a bit better. We can only get through this together.