What is really the most important business to open first, post-Covid lockdown?

Tim Sackett COVID-19, Employee Relations

We are going to be discussing this a bunch over the next month or more! Do we think movie theaters should be open? What about college football!? For the love of all that is holy, please open up college football!!!

A study recently took a look at cell phone data to determine where were the highest relative risks based on people coming together too closely, with what is needed to get back to a ‘normal’ way of life. Here’s the chart for a metro area:

So, of course, Grocery Stores have to be open, both important but also dangerous because many people go, we all touch a bunch of stuff, money changes hands, etc. On the flip side, Museums, while culturally important, don’t make that much of a difference for most people to get back to work and live their lives, also, in a museum environment it’s fairly easy to stay away from other folks and you don’t touch the dinosaur bones!

The danger side of this I think is more easily agreed upon versus the importance side!

This study basically says sit down restaurants are extremely dangerous, but also extremely important. I think we could all argue we definitely want to go back to our favorite restaurant, but are they really that important!?

Also, while college is very important for education, do we really need to get back on campus? I mean I have two sons who are just finishing and over the last couple of years, most of their classes were basically online anyways! Now I get if you’re spending $40K a year on college, you probably want to be on campus versus your parent’s basement.

So, I’m going to give you my non-data, experience-driven list of the most important businesses to open up first post-lockdown:

  1. Grocery stores & Liquor Stores – I need diet Mt. Dew to survive. Plus, they’re already open. Also, if you want to keep all of us quieted down, you better keep us slightly drunk!
  2. Barbers and Hairdressers – Have you seen your shaggy looking employees on Zoom calls!? Some of us need a cut and color! No one wants to see ‘reality’ when the world is ending!
  3. Auto Body Shops – I got a new truck the week before lockdown and some stupid deer ran right into the side of my new truck that is now just sitting there waiting to be fixed!
  4. Any kind of restaurant that I don’t have to sit within six feet of anyone else. So, basically fast-food drive-up and carry out places.
  5. General Merchandise Stores (Home Depots, Lowes, etc.) – If you’re keeping me mostly at home, I’ve got a honey-do list a mile long, you better give me access to a man-store!
  6. Dentists & Orthodontists. They’re doctors and medical professionals. Bad dental health leads to other issues. They’ll be safe given the proper PPE (he said like he actually knows what PPE even means).
  7. Childcare. This one is difficult, goes right up there with schools. Let’s face it, all these kids are just gross little virus carriers! But, Mom and Dad can’t get back to work if you don’t have someplace to drop them. Maybe we can spray each kid down every hour with Lysol or something, we’ll figure it out.
  8. Schools. (See #7) – Also, if I know one thing it’s that teachers suck at teaching via Zoom! Like how can you babysit a bunch of kids all day and teach them and then you can’t figure out how to run a simple Zoom meeting!?

I really wanted to put shoe stores up there, but let’s face it, I can get those online! The whole church thing I also don’t get. It’s kind of like teachers. I mean, look, you only see your flock once per week anyway! You can’t figure out how to Zoom that stuff until a vaccine comes!?

What do you think? Given your lock-up experience, what would be the first business you need to get back to work?