Dear Industry Friends and Colleagues,
A month or so ago today, our industry could not possibly have imagined the chaos, confusion and consternation that lay in store for our teams and our companies. Just when you think you’ve seen and lived through it all, from Y2K to 9-11, financial crisis and global depression to seemingly endless Middle-East wars, to Katrina, Harvey, other natural disasters and man-made tragedies worldwide – wait, there’s more. In this 21st century alone, we’ve dealt with HIV/AIDS, Ebola, West Nile Virus, SARS, “Bird” Flu, H1N1, Hantavirus, MERS, Zika, and now, Novel Coronavirus / COVID-19.
Maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, the Coronavirus Relief Bill will pass the Senate early this week and be immediately signed by the President. I’m skeptical, though, that small events and hospitality businesses in our community will ever see that illusory “relief”. I fear that some of our friends and colleagues will not be able to “hold out” that long.
So I’m also suggesting that we, as an industry, and as members of NACE, ILEA, MPI, HSMAI, National Restaurant Associations, the Austin DMC Roundtable, AFP and any other industry-related group, take our case for industry relief to the City, County, State and ultimately, to the Nation’s Capitol. Let’s communicate with one another, support one another and commiserate with one another. Let’s share information and perspectives, even among competitors.
Let’s develop a clear and compelling case for an industry “bail out” – surely, no industry was every more deserving of some share of local and state funds earmarked and available for business community support. I don’t know what these specifics look like, but would urge those of you with ties to or influence among our City Council and other local officials to start this ball rolling. At the very least, every organization mentioned here should be part of a letter writing campaign that creates awareness and generates sympathy for our cause.
Above all, let’s stay healthy. Let’s focus on the reality that “that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”, and believe that we will overcome. Whether it’s hype and hysteria or a true threat- whether we look back at this, as a nation and in countries around the world, and say that “we did too little”, or that “we did too much”, I cannot say. But what I do know is that, working together, we can see this through. We can triumph over this adversity, just as we have over past professional and personal challenges.
If there’s any way in which my team and I can be helpful to you and your business, we’re available to chat by phone or exchange emails. Because we have high-risk family members, Richard and I are on partial, self-imposed “lock down”. So I’ve got time on my hands. I hope you and your family stay healthy and safe. Keep the faith.