Concern about the present and confusion about the future; that’s what we all feel, but it is different for each of us.

COVID-19 has infected and affected almost the entire world. At the moment our only way of fighting back is by standing together and staying apart but everyone’s experience of the disease and its consequences is unique and individual and it’s important to realise that.
We clap for carers, we queue outside supermarkets and we do our business by Zoom. The world has changed almost beyond measure and yet these things, and many, many others, seem normal to us and have become a part of the everyday because it seems that everyone is doing them.

And in many ways, that’s how it should be. We look after each other, we protect each other and we care for each other. But in telling the story of the disease in these broad strokes we can sometimes forget that that wider picture is made up of individuals.

64 days. 261,184 cases. 36,914 lives. (2020-05-26)

Never has the media been so full of graphs and charts, statistics and data. We live in a world where we check the R-number everyday, where we understand that what we are trying to do is to flatten the curve.

But statistics aren’t the story and numbers don’t tell the narrative.

Perhaps describing all nurses and care workers as angels puts added pressure on people who are struggling to do their job in horrific circumstances and under an endless burden. To always behave like an angel under those conditions would certainly be too much for me.

Being told that ‘we are all in this together’ is absolutely right, it also points to a view of the world that puts the importance of the herd above that of the individual, where as the truth is that both are equally important.

If the strange circumstances of this post COVID world were to be inflicted on one individual we would understand that they were frightened, lonely, nervous and confused. When we are a part of a society suffering this way, we perhaps find it harder to forgive others, and ourselves, when we feel this way.

Masks and brave faces.

If we are to come out of lock down, I think we will have to add mask wearing to hand washing and social distancing but we find masks emotive and confusing.

Culturally we aren’t happy about seeing masked faces in public and for women in particular, masks make them feel uncomfortable. There are macho issues too about hiding behind a piece of folded material and Trump has even described them as ‘un-manly’. (Unlike injecting yourself with bleach presumably.)

But if our businesses and our public transport system are to return to any sort of previous normalcy, then I think we are going to have to put a brave face behind the mask.

It’s a beautiful day.

We’ve all come to terms with fact that our industry is ‘solar powered’; that the weather makes all the difference, and as such we are all overly conscious of the weather, particularly at the start of the season.

It is such a cruel irony that this spring has been so glorious but I’m also sure that sunshine and blue skies have made the last few months more bearable.

I count myself lucky in as much that I live in a fairly rural, coastal part of the country. Nature, it seems, is enjoying us taking a breather from polluting the planet. The hedgerows are alive with insects and the skies are full of swifts and swallows performing aerobatic feats to pluck those insects out of the air.

Carbon emissions have fallen by roughly 17% as a result of lock-down measures and there is a lot of support to build a more sustainable future as we emerge from the restrictions. It has certainly shown all of us, both individuals and businesses, that life can function with far fewer miles being driven or flown.

A healthy business.

In the same way that COVID-19 has affected individuals in both common and unique ways, so will it and the effects of lock-down impact differently on individual businesses.

We are all being told to prepare for the new normal, but if anyone actually knows what that will be, I would be very surprised. Where we are now is a form of economic limbo. Furloughed workers, shuttered high streets and a closed leisure and travel industry; nothing is as it was or as it will be.

Certainly some businesses won’t survive and it is just as certain that some will profit hugely but it’s difficult to foretell what will happen to whom. In America there has been a boom in above ground pools and hot dog sales have grown by 29%. Here we have seen increased interest in pool kits at Golden Coast but I wouldn’t particularly recommend anyone to invest in a hot dog business.

Stay alert.

As the graph flattens and the R-number falls, the UK will get back to business and I see a healthy future for our industry. Social distancing may well remain for a considerable time, borders may stay closed and flying expensive. All that might help the wet leisure industry, but we will have to watch for pitfalls as well as opportunities.

Best of luck and stay safe.