MOVING TO YELLOW: WHAT “REOPENING" LOOKS LIKE IN WESTERN PA
Despite Governor Wolf’s recent announcement that most of Western PA is moving to a yellow phase, “reopening” does not look the way that many of us imagined, but then, many of us thought quarantine would last a few weeks at most.
For some, the yellow phase seems too cautious, for others, too soon. Yet, one thing is for certain: the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the business world both here in Pittsburgh and in the world at large.
LIFE IN A YELLOW WORLD
On the surface, the yellow phase changes relatively little from the red phase. In fact, those companies that have been teleworking are advised to continue to do so. However, with the lift of the stay-at-home ban in this phase, gatherings will be allowed of up to 25 people. Previously during the “red phase,” the state banned gatherings of any kind. Some retailers will be allowed to open with certain safety precautions, though curbside pickup and delivery remains preferable. Child care and pet care operations are allowed to reopen, though they must follow the federal and state guidance for safety, social distancing, and cleaning. Gyms, theaters, hair and nail salons, and schools remain closed for the foreseeable future. Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced that although the curve of the pandemic has indeed flattened in over half of the counties in PA, businesses who open prematurely could face major consequences such as no longer being eligible for business liability insurance. Restaurants that reopen for dine-in will risk losing their liquor licenses. The governor did commend Pennsylvanians on the sacrifices they have made so far.
WFH EXTENDED INDEFINITELY
The COVID-19 pandemic has set in motion an unprecedented experiment in remote work. The tech industry was full of early adopters, but now some Big Tech companies have announced their intention to continue their WFH policies indefinitely. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Twitter offices likely wouldn't open before September, and that there would be no in-person events through the end of the year. He also said that employees would be allowed to work from home “forever.” Neighboring social platform, Facebook, is letting their employees work from home through the end of 2020, while Microsoft is allowing employees to work from home through October. The mass exodus from the office is likely to change the way teams operate in the long-term. It’s also raised the question of how much of the future of work will happen in the office at all. Now these major companies have announced the option to not return to the office, it will likely drive momentum across the industry to keep their employees safe through the foreseeable future.
GETTING TO GREEN
Our society will undoubtedly face many hurdles before the “green phase” arrives. Restaurants will begin to reopen, but with limited capacity or outdoor seating options. And while retailers are allowed to open their doors, they are asked to diminish their capacity which they will surely see a decrease in revenue. But, as we have proven in the past two months, we will also see a rise in humanity in the workplace. Now more than ever we have seen a rush of understanding as the workplace becomes less cutthroat and more hospitable. People have more understanding of noises and distractions. If anything good can come out of social distancing, perhaps it is that in our distance we have become more willing to recognize the humanity in others. Who knows, perhaps the next great shift in business is not online, but rather a new way of treating people?
If you’re wondering how your company can bridge the economic shift caused by COVID-19, we offer free Business Identity worksheets that can help you think critically about your business strategy moving forward. You can access these free resources here or speak with our team directly at email@example.com.