What are you doing still open?

If you’re like me, then your inbox is full of updates from every retail or online business you’ve ever interacted with, relating to COVID 19 updates. Its encouraging to see so many private enterprises adapting and accomodating to this ever changing reality.

Every business I’ve engaged with has either adjusted their store hours, their employee’s shifts or the way they function to accomodate for social distancing of their customers. Or in some cases have flat out closed.

Which brings up the outliers. The ones who have not changed. I’m sure everyone remembers this story of the EB Games store that refused to close for a long scheduled video game release. Or the extremes of this small business in Haliburton County, Ontario:

I’ve also heard from friends about employers who have not even gone so far as to adjust practices or guidelines to reflect the recommendations of public health officials. For them it’s business as usual. This is incredibly dangerous, not only for their employees, but for us the public as well.

From a public relations perspective I can only provide the following advice. If you’re the business owner who hasn’t by now followed the advice of health officials and made the appropriate changes to your business, you are not showing leadership or your superior intellect. This is what the public is seeing right now:

  1. You want to think you know better than the scientists and doctors who study this for a a living. You know better than the millions of other Canadians who are worried and scared for their livlihoods and families right now. You believe a quick Google search gives you more authority than the rest of us who are working hard to keep up to date with the news in this ever changing situation. Or…
  2. You are actively ignoring the recommendations of officials. Which demonstrates a real lack of awareness of current events.

Either situation isn’t a good look for a business. The first situation basically insults the intelligence of your clients and customers. The second demonstrates a lack of leadership and entrepreneurship in a changing market. Neither is a good image to have in a time of crisis.

We are all going to get through this one way or another. However, I don’t see us returning to the way things were before. Many businesses are going to be facing tough financial decisions in the months to come. The demand for change is going to be forced upon entire industries. Business leaders and entrepreneurs who are unable to adapt and face reality will fail. Post Covid-19, there will be a reckoning. When we all return to interacting as usual, the market will remember who did and did not step up to the challenge to protect their workers and customers. How will you want to be remembered?

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