While the concept of a new normal is a pressing concern, more people openly worry about the future of the economy. Will there be a second wave? Will we ever get out of the first wave? What are the long-term economic effects of this seemingly never-ending pandemic? We explore all these topics in our expansive Mid-Year Economic Report, which begins on page 56.
In my opinion, the best action we can take to support the economy is to keep operating. Of course, keeping businesses open requires health – not just from employees but the public at large. The longer we have to remain quarantined, the more businesses suffer – the more uncertainty prevails.
Even though no one has any concrete answers for the pandemic, there is more that we can all do to continue supporting our packaging heroes. And while I’m not a doctor and don’t pretend to be – nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn last night – I think it’s painfully obvious that there are adjustments we can all make in our daily lives to curb the spread of COVID-19. This doesn’t have to be a new normal. It can be a temporary normal, as long as we all buy in to supporting one another with some common sense behaviors. However, we can’t rely on someone else to solve this problem for us.
We should all commit to social distancing. When that becomes impossible, we should wear a mask. Regardless of what the numbers look like in your state, the best way to ensure this is a temporary situation is to take it seriously – and continue to take it seriously even when it appears the numbers are in decline. From talking to suppliers and converters, these measures abound in label facilities. Great Lakes Label’s Tony Cook and Grace Imaging’s Robert Petrie were extremely proactive in crisis management. Petrie even prepared for closing his business for 1-2 weeks to disinfect the plant. Thankfully that was not required, but these are the realities we all confront.
In the 24 hours prior to the writing of this editorial, multiple NBA players tested positive for the virus. These are peak athletes at the top of their profession. If they can contract COVID-19, so can we. And our industry can’t continue operating on the front lines if the employees become infected. Wearing a mask might be a temporary inconvenience, but it very well might facilitate future freedoms. Dr. Lillian Abbo of Jackson Health Systems says it best: “If you don’t like wearing a mask, you’re not going to like wearing a ventilator.”
The quicker we slow the spread, the faster we can return to our normal lives. We have to be held accountable to each other, though.
Greg Hrinya, Editor