A friend of mine who gave up Facebook for the 40 days of Lent came back and posted “I’m back – did I miss anything?” Obviously she was kidding about the very serious news story that is everything right now– the Covid-19 pandemic. How do you put something that affects so many people (everybody?) in so many countries into perspective? It isn’t easy. My boys are 8 and 12 years old and are struggling to make sense of their school year, Little League baseball season, Boy Scouts events, play dates with friends and everything else they know and love being cancelled. I told them that in my almost 50 years on this planet I have never been through anything like this – nothing even close.
Like everyone at this time, I am figuring the situation out day by day and trying to sort through fact and fiction. The hardest part is that the details are changing daily and what was believed / true last week, isn’t necessarily true this week. I haven’t spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself about the pandemic’s impact to me or my family or Hydra-Tech Pumps, because everyone and every business is facing their own Covid-19 challenges. I know of weddings postponed. I know a fair number of high school and college seniors who don’t know if they’ll have a graduation. A couple of weeks ago I learned that a woman who was a year ahead of me at my high school died in New York City of corona virus. She was a year older and without any known “underlying conditions”. What I had believed to be true before, that “only people over 60 and those with preexisting conditions are dying”, was clearly not true. The odds are not good for people over 60 and no matter your age, everyone is anxious. Everyone who has an elderly relative or friend is anxious. Everyone who has an elderly relative or friend in a nursing home is especially anxious.
I know of businesses that are struggling and might not survive. A friend’s business had to lay off more than half of their double digit workforce in mid-March when Covid-19 was just starting to heat up. They are an essential business but they serve the restaurant and hospitality industry who are hit hard right now. The social distancing and shutting down of non-essential businesses is a necessary thing, I don’t disagree. But doing this is an economy and business killer.
In mid-March, I’m sure your work and personal email inboxes like mine were full of emails from anyone you have ever done business with letting you know whether they were open or not and reassuring you that they were doing the necessary things required to remain open. At Hydra-Tech Pumps we have our masks on and have moved to daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces. We continue to answer the phone and help customers when they call. It’s tough out there unless you have a warehouse full of hand sanitizer, N95 masks or toilet paper. As the death toll rises and we hopefully are close to hitting the peak (maybe?) of the curve we’re trying so hard to flatten, keep this in mind. We have to stick with the plan and the masks and the social distancing – not something we are accustomed to but something we’re certainly getting a lot of practice with. And we’re all in this together. Everyone, everyone has had something or many things in their life turned upside down by the pandemic. If your business is down but your people (family, friends, coworkers) are healthy and haven’t been touched by coronavirus then consider yourself blessed.
Written by Jeff Whittaker - VP, sales and marketing