The outbreak of COVID-19 has undoubtedly impacted the global economy in negative ways. Businesses and entrepreneurs are faced with making harsh, yet necessary decisions concerning basic operations, employment, and finances. Some businesses are adapting well to impromptu changes, but many are finding it challenging to stay afloat.
Since local governments issued “stay-in-place” orders for their local regions, businesses have been forced to push everything online, if at all possible. Unfortunately, the majority of factories, wellness studios, restaurants, and offices have no choice but to close their doors due to the dangers of having people in close quarters. The restaurant business, essentially, has adapted by keeping dining rooms closed, but drive throughs and pickup services available to the public. There have even been a wave of policy changes to maintain contact-free, safe environments for employees and customers.
Other more non-essential businesses, like wellness and fitness studios, are finding ways to keep customers engaged until the storm passes. Local Atlanta wellness studio, ATL Kula, just opened its doors to the public mid March and had to quickly adjust their business plans to maintain operations. “At that time, the threat level was relatively low compared to what it is now,” said Kiara Johnson, part owner of ATL Kula. “As soon as we realized there was any type of threat to the safety of anyone in the community, we immediately decided to close and move everything online to our Kula Stream platform,” said Johnson.
Although the COVID-19 outbreak began in March of this year, businesses could find themselves potentially canceling events well into late Summer / early Fall 2020. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) strongly suggests that event personnel prepare an emergency plan for mass gatherings and large community events to protect the health of all parties involved. The CDC has provided tons of documents and strategies to handle events of ten or more people in the United States. The Interim Guidance document, in particular, consists of considerations along with steps to prepare and proceed with patrons gathering in large groups.
As summer approaches, large annual events, like the Essence Festival are playing it safe to keep their participants free from harm. The Essence Festival 2020 COVID-19 alerted their audience with a message of concern, unity, and strength through this period of time. At this point in time of the outbreak, it is unclear when current policies will be lifted, but businesses are encouraged to continue isolation practices until further notice.
Since the primary line of personal communication has slowed dramatically since the outbreak of COVID-19, businesses and entrepreneurs are finding other ways to stay connected to coworkers and customers. In times like these, overcommunication doesn’t seem like an issue, especially with tools like video conferencing, email, and phone calls. Specifically though, the industry that has seen exponential growth is video chat / conferencing. Companies like Zoom, GotToMeeting, and Skype have all seen major jumps. According to a report by TrustRadius, video conferencing platforms, as of April 6th, have seen a 265% increase in usage.