BOCA RATON, FL – We’re all sitting at home, dabbling with puzzles, games and reading – yet many are daydreaming, thinking of life after this Chinese Virus thing goes away or slows down. All we see when we venture out during this crisis is people wearing masks for protection. Will many continue this practice? Why not? It’s safe. Big cities such as New York will surely be home to many who will no longer shake hands, join in festivities that require bunching together, nor will health conscious individuals ever tolerate a cougher in their midst. Get in a packed elevator or subway car…?
So, what will our neighborhoods look like a few weeks or months from now? What kinds of jobs will just disappear? When will schools get back on schedule and begin teaching our kids, and how effective will our education system be in making up for these lost months? Forget about looking to the “experts” for their guesses regarding the future, which is all anyone can do now. In fact, my prophesy and yours, about the changes are every bit as good as the pros.
When we finally emerge and look around, there will be many stores, mainly restaurants that will never re-open. Those retailers on the brink before this chaos, are doomed. Neiman-Marcus, Pier 1 Imports, Rite Aid, J. Crew and Fairway Supermarkets are on ventilators and may call it quits. What would 34th Street be without Macys? Do you recall Gimbels? So many customers have been lured away by Amazon and its simple genius internet marketing. Malls will have empty cave-like storefronts. How will their staff fend in a vast unemployment market that threatens our economy? Mom and Pop shops that are sprinkled through our neighborhoods have been drained by months of closure that still necessitate regular payments for rent, power and insurance. Just walking away and calling it quits may be their only out.
Teacher unions around the country are sweating, having had their students do their work at home using the technology of Zoom and others to teach without the need for a teacher to be present. What if students had large group teaching sessions on their classroom laptops led by only one instructor? Students’ could move on at their own pace, ask individual questions and get prompt answers, all electronically. Cheaper and more effective than a class of 35, hobbled by one student who can’t grasp a theory. Teaching may be a fading profession.
Large group activities such as sports, just a few short months ago teaming with basketball, baseball, football and hockey fans are now dead in the swimming pool. All bets are off regarding their upcoming seasons and training for them. The Olympics are now shot. A disaster. Will future sports events be only televised? Conventions, weddings, celebrations large and small may share similar victim-hood.
The entertainment industry, its movies, Broadway, relying on live audiences crammed into theaters, paying through the nose to be diverted away from reality, is on the rocks. Will coughing up big bucks for seats in theaters fade into history? The travel industry is now on the ropes. Air travel, cruise ships, trains and buses are now stiff armed by former users. How and when will they, if ever recover? The uncrowded auto may again be king.
This is just a brief summary of the problems we will face shortly. No need to further depress you. The ramifications are many and all dire. We are in big trouble. Our job market, economy and huge growing debt are killing us and even our homeland security is at great risk. No one knows what shape our military is in. Can we retaliate if a rogue nation takes a poke at us? We’ll repeat our opening words, don’t go to the experts for answers. Go outside, look around the neighborhood, speak to people and take a shot at what the future holds for us. Your guess is as good as the guesses from professional guessers.