Hanging in there

Heading into our second straight year of dealing with a deadly pandemic, what have we learned? How have we changed? Or have we?

Some people have decided it’s all a sham, they aren’t going to be fooled and are behaving accordingly. Most probably just sigh, shrug their shoulders and try to cope. Obey the rules, try to stay safe and one day this will pass.

Work has changed for some, but not much for many. We heard the other day that dry cleaning businesses have taken a hit, due to so many people working from home. Who needs clean clothes for that?

Then there’s travel. Real suffering is happening in businesses associated with moving people around, housing and feeding them. The flipside of that is that home renovation-type stuff is more popular than ever, with a corresponding surge in sales of lumber and other things. Gardening is looking to boom for a second season in a row. Camping and fishing will probably be red hot again.

Add trailers to the list. Somebody told us the other day the price of a utility trailer is jumping by $1,000, thanks to high demand and slowed-down production. Both apparently somehow related to the pandemic.

And of course anything that happens online is busy like never before. It’s probably why internet service has been so weak: too much demand on the system.

Deliveries! A local guy who started a small delivery business last year, focusing on food has been expanding so fast he can hardly believe it himself.

What this adds up to is that there are opportunities. People who can pivot and grab what’s there will do well. Some will do very well indeed and they will create new jobs. An example is the above-mentioned new delivery business, which has created four jobs where none existed less than a year ago.

Meanwhile, we’re seeing a surge of new cases of COVID, at the same time as the vaccination program slowly unfolds. Can this possibly continue for another year? A lot of hopes are resting on the vaccines, but the jury is well out on their general effectiveness. Skepticism seems to be the order of the day.

Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand, which came down hard and fast against COVID, are enjoying the benefits. Low risk of community spread, and people able to behave pretty much as normal. Long may it last Down Under, but the reality is quite different here. Life in a bubble certainly has its drawbacks, but if it’s virus-free, no doubt the Aussies and Kiwis will take it and be happy they can.

Newly-tightened restrictions are certainly a blow for restaurants. But most have survived on take-out and delivery for periods of time in the past year, and will again, we hope.

Anyway, what choice do we have but to hang in there and make the best of it? As noted above, some are doing quite well indeed, and others are finding ways to do more than just cope.

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