The last group was a group of business leaders and entrepreneurs, a total of 75 respondents. They were not surprisingly more focused on the business end but still wanted to stop the virus. Not a single one wanted to stop the virus at all costs. As you can see from the chart, they all wanted to stop the virus, without forgetting about the economy.
I think they are right. In my personal opinion, both are of equal importance.
The wife of a good friend of mine is a nurse that has been placed in charge of a Corona ward. The stress on his family is immense. She is working long hours seeing a lot of death and is at risk of infection, and not just her, she risks bringing it home to her family. I have huge respect for her. There are a lot of people that are downplaying this and treating hospital staff like her as mere numbers, just another statistic. This is very real and very dangerous.
On the other side, someone close to my family has lost their entire income. This person has gotten so scared and depressed over this, they have had a few, thankfully abortive suicide attempts. Depression, substance abuse, and suicide all rise in times of financial stress. Wanting to bring the economy back online is not greedy or selfish by default. It can be selfless as you do not want people to suffer.
This is an unprecedented time. The financial crash is not due to market forces. It is due to a pandemic and government orders to shut down and stay home. Due to this, it is my opinion that the damage to the economy and people’s lives not directly affected by the illness will be greater unless we can mitigate the damage. Even during the great depression, if you lost everything you, at last, go out and try to find work. Yes, some people are still in business and hiring, but the jobs are few, and we are not supposed to go out looking for work right now, this makes the emotional impact even greater.
So what do we do? It feels like the cliche choice that the villain gives the hero. They can save one person, or another, or many, but they cannot save both, which do you choose? Always a tough choice. However, in these films (If they are not too dark) the hero always finds a way to save both. I think we can be the hero of the story, and find a way to save both. I look at the essential businesses that have stayed open, such as grocery stores, and pharmacies, and even nonessential businesses that have been allowed to stay open, like fast-food restaurants, etc. and look at how they are continuing to operate. They have found a way to remain open while cutting down on the risks.
Here are two examples. The pharmacy where my sister in law works at has limited the number of people to 8 at a time, and have installed temporary plexiglass face shields, avoid touching customers I.D.s, etc. The stores have lines marked 6 feet apart at the register, you are asked to pay using the wifi payment when possible, etc.
I figure that if we start to reopen we can do some of the same things, and think of other ways to keep the virus from spreading as we reopen. The fear is of a second wave hitting hard when we reopen causing even more death and damage. I think if we do it correctly, think outside of the box and find new ways to serve our customers, we can save the economy and defeat this virus at the same time.
So let us all become the hero that can defeat the villain, and save both lives and the economy.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Entrepreneur
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