The Pandemic a Year Later


Published: March 22, 2021

Courtesy of Broome County Pandemic: One year later

wbng.com

The Epidemic One Year Later

Well, it has been a year now since the pandemic has hit the world, including America. March 2020 marked the beginning of shutting down businesses in the U.S. and the permanent closing of many to never to open business organizations again. The restaurant, the hospitality industry are ones that really suffered during this period. Nevertheless, entrepreneurs have a tenancy of re-developing themselves and shifting into different business models for survival.

The pandemic can be said to be the biggest challenge that small businesses have ever faced. This challenge has changed how we all have done business in the past to a new norm of digitalization. How we operate on a day-to-day basis, from interacting with new business development processes to other business dynamics. However, there are plenty of challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs/small businesses to re-develop business plans and models.

Small businesses across the country have pivoted to new ways of doing business, such as digitalization, and have touched every conceivable industry. A survey conducted by Comcast shows that 46% has changed how they do business. Another 50% has changed how they interacted with customers, and another 45% on how they collaborate with others. And another 87% say they are better prepared for the future than ever before.

Safety Measures/Security

The work-at-home concept has opened up new challenges for small businesses, I.T. security being one. The vulnerability of small businesses to obtain new tools to forgo the threats of bad actors is ever-present today. Security gaps are present and must be dealt with to provide security to the firm and its customer base.

Remote Work

Thus, while small businesses have reported some 22% of their workforce was already using  remote work activities. However, during the pandemic, that figure has risen to close to 60%. Though, pundits are split to where this number will be once the pandemic is over. Employers have found this to be a double-edged sword. For example, small businesses can save money by decreasing the size of their workspace.

However, will this saving and increase to the bottom-line be seen in additional benefits to the workforce? Or will the employers see an increase in productivity? Will they continue the use of a remote workforce? Video conferencing is popular during the pandemic, and small business owners say they don’t see a change in this practice in the future. Small businesses are looking for bandwidth that uploads as quickly as their download capabilities.

E-commerce

E-commerce or electronic draft capture (EDC) is not a new business phenomenon; however, more enterprises use EDC to move their various products and services through their websites and the internet since the pandemic. The anxiety of social distancing, wearing masks, and hand-washing is still paramount in people’s minds. The development of websites for small businesses is on the rise, so they can now do business as their larger counterparts 24/7 at a lower over-all cost.

U.S. Economy

Since the world is now interconnected, what happens in one part of the globe affects other factors.  The U.S. with over 500,000 deaths, and the World Health Organization reports 2.65 million worldwide deaths. With the Biden administration’s handling of the delivery of vaccines, the U.S. looks to pull out of this virus by July 4, 2021. Thus, the gradual uptick of the economy for 2021 into 2022 as the economy reopens and industries get back to normal or as best they can.

While specific industries such as restaurants and the hospitality industries have felt the brunt of this disease, other industries like the travel industries have felt its share as well. The government interaction of sending money to families to help offset the sting of the lack of funds will also stimulate the economy. They will buy food and other needed merchandise, which will boost the economy.

This pandemic has touched practically every industry around the world. As industries learned to adapt, they also learned new skills to better see them through as they rebrand and reinvent themselves. Technology has played a substantial part in the survival of this economic threat; teleconferencing and other advents have made the transition easier.

Government Stimulus Checks

President Biden has vowed to get 100 million stimulus checks to taxpayers soon, within the next week or two. The $1,400 checks will go a long way with taxpayers, which will be used to pay rent and other necessary items needed by hard-hit families. And the money will arrive via direct deposit as soon as March 17, 2021, to taxpayers’ bank accounts.  Individuals who earned less than $80,000 or $160,000 combined tax returns could qualify for the next round of stimulus checks for $1,400 under the American Rescue Plan.

The big question with most Americans is when do I get my check and how do I track it. As of March 15, 2021, there will be updates on IRS websites and facts on common questions that most people may ask. Now to top it off to equal $2,000, there will be a $600 additional check for families; this was approved by congress. The qualification for the third check is based on the tax filing status of the individuals.

Conclusion

And finally, the pandemic has taught us that evolving is forever constant in our DNA. It has also shown us our weaknesses and strengths. And it had shown us how money and power have no shame, whereas those who have the wealth and power had used it to get vaccinated over those less fortunate individuals when their turn came for vaccination.

We have learned to reinvent ourselves for the sake of our business ventures to survive. However, there have been some casualties in the business sector, some significant, and yes, many small companies will never open their doors again after forced closures by the government. But that is what life is all about learning, growing, and evolving.

Being shut up for a year has also brought out and shown to the world our prejudices that we have among false claims against those whom we are different from culturally. Words hurt, and those who put out this hatred should rethink their verbiage and react if they were on the other side of the slander they perpetrated. We have much work to do, of learning how to live with one another, for, in the end, we are all we got.
Dr. Dem