Just a week ago, I was enjoying myself, watching a college softball doubleheader – UNCG vs. Northern Illinois. (UNCG took both games from NIU, by the way…Go Spartans!) The following day, we wre preparing for Gontram Architecture’s 24th annual NCAA Pool. Sponsors were confirmed, and the pool was setup waiting for Selection Sunday.
Then…in the blink of an eye…it seemed like the entire world went berserk!
College spring breaks were being extended so professors could prepare their classes to be put online. Then, students were told to go home. NCAA Championships were cancelled. Public schools were closed. College and high school athletic seasons were cancelled. (I love fastpitch softball, so this is when I woke up and said, “Holy crap!”) Pro athletic seasons were postponed indefinitely. Then, bars were closed and restaurants went to drive-thru or takeout only. Movie theaters closed, grocery stores went to reduced hours, concerts were cancelled. Entire countries were in a state of lock down. The stock market just keeps on falling. Hand shaking is now practically illegal. And, the value of hand sanitizer and (for some reason) toilet paper continues to skyrocket.
Unfortunately, we all now know the meaning of “social distancing.”
All of this in, what seems like, only a week.
Obviously, the rest of the world was dealing with this for a while, but it took the US and some other western countries a bit more time to wake up to the fact that this virus was going to kick our butts if we didn’t take some precautionary measures immediately. So, here we are. (Some still think this is some kind of Chinese conspiracy or hoax, but I will leave them to Darwin.)
The question is, “What Now?” We have a few ideas:
- Don’t panic. Take the proper precautions (wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, practice social distancing) and COVID-19 will run its course. It may take some time, but we have survived worse. The stock market comes back after a crisis, it always does — history has proven that. The trick is to stay healthy in the meantime. Again, don’t panic.
- Quick observation: Your face never itches more than when someone says, “Don’t touch your face.” Right?
- Work remotely, if you can. Construction cannot be constructed remotely until we have robotics and drones to the point where field personnel are minimized, but we are hand-washing and keeping proper personal spacing. So, working remotely and maintaining social distance is the key! I have personally had more teleconferences in the past 2 days than I have had all year so far. And, you know what? They have been more productive than I could have imagined.
- And, consider making lemonade with all of these Coronavirus lemons!
To that last point, now may be the perfect time to deal with what you had been putting off (or just too busy to deal with) — that much-needed project!
Some people will take this time to cower in the corner and wait for the world to end. Winners will see an opportunity and jump! As long as Inspections Departments maintain operations, and we can still get inspections, we will still be building!
We have seen a number of our projects accelerated due to the virus. As employees are working remotely, it is a convenient time to tackle that office renovation project that would have been too disruptive a month ago. Since the residents have been sent home, it is now time to renovate that fraternity house. And, with the dining room closed, it is now time to upgrade the decor in your restaurant!
Boston actually closed all construction projects – I am not sure what that is about. (Personally, I think that is a bit more about union influence than anything else.) With strict rules about social distancing, hygiene, and symptom observation, construction can be performed safely and effectively.
Also, with fewer distractions and social activities, this might be the perfect time to devote some time to improving the built environment around you. The last thing you want to do is watch CNN for more COVID-19 drama, right? Take a break and start planning for that expansion that will be needed once the restrictions are lifted!
Give us a call! But don’t come by our office – ’cause we ain’t there.
PS – Interestingly enough, the final play of the last game of the double header, in extra innings, UNCG won on a bases-loaded, HIT-BY-PITCH! Most of the time, victories come after a bit of pain.