If you are like me, there was much confusion around COVID-19 in the early days. In February 2020, my wife thought I was crazy when I asked her to avoid shopping in stores with our young son. Maybe I would handle the groceries? Maybe I would wear a mask and keep pockets equipped with hand sanitizer? Maybe I was crazy? We weren’t really sure how to feel until March 11, 2020 when the NBA cancelled its season and America’s Dad, Tom Hanks, announced he had tested positive for the virus. At that point, it felt like the whole world was forced to admit that the coronavirus was not a distant concern. As much as we hoped it wouldn’t be the case, the coronavirus was going to affect us, our families, our companies, our communities, our countries, our entire world.
By many measures, the year since has been bad – a whole year marked by loss. Everyone has lost something. Loved ones, jobs, a sense of normalcy, confidence in the social fabric, certainty in where we get our news, trust in our elected officials, the ability to watch a movie without seeing a crowd and thinking “I can’t believe not a single person is wearing a mask”, and the previously unappreciated ease of seeing whoever we want, whenever we want, as close as we want.
So much loss. Everywhere but your retirement accounts.
In the year since March 11, 2020, the stock market has performed about as well as you could hope. Wall Street’s towering heights have cast a long shadow over Main Street’s struggles. Small businesses employ almost half of Americans and have the hardest road to navigate. There is reason to be optimistic – in early April 2020, Main Street America reported that nearly 60% of small businesses claimed revenues decreasing by more than 75%. A follow-up survey in August found that most businesses were open and less than 10% had closed.
And now, the NBA is back, Tom Hanks is well and willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Keep ordering takeout from local restaurants; keep supporting small business.