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  • Michelle Carlen

Perspective; The Corona Virus and Crisis Planning

The world is facing unchartered territory as the Corona virus continues to grow and affect over 90 countries. Opinions abound on whether the media has over sensationalized the virus and its severity causing unnecessary panic. Travel bans to/from countries of China, Iran, Italy and South Korea are in place to prevent the spread of the virus. As of today, March 9th, the number of cases begins to grow worldwide and particularly in the United States. There are hourly updates from the media with new information from stock market volatility to announcements of cancellations of large- scale conventions and events. Having spent my career in the hospitality and tourism industry I can tell you this is having a detrimental impact to the livelihoods of millions of people impacted by loss of business from cancelled conventions, events, meetings and tradeshows. As tragic as this is, what’s at stake is still largely unknown.


After 9/11 in 2001 the hospitality and tourism industry took a major blow. For many still in the tourism industry this seems eerily familiar. But, the Corona virus outbreak is VERY different and here’s a few points as to why.


1) The disease is relatively new and very little is understood about it with any type of vaccine 12-18 months away.

2) Containment is now nearly impossible and the mitigation of community transmission of utmost importance.

3) This is a test for all world governments and how they operate in crisis.

4) The U.S. and many country’s health systems simply do not have the training nor physical capability to handle.

5) The global impact is affecting all areas of business being the largest disruptor of our time.

6) Being able to balance fluid facts and data is challenging.


One of the biggest issues about Corona virus is the lack of protective equipment for health care workers (who ultimately would spread the virus if contracted and already happening) and ability for our health system to accommodate a pandemic, meaning we literally do not have the ability to from a physical standpoint. So precautionary measures to contain the spread is at the crux of why airlines have cancelled flights and companies are cancelling events. The virus is virtually not understood in depth just yet by doctors and scientists. Additionally, healthcare and other workers are not trained in how to respond to this. While there is a degree of fear created by the media, this is an overlooked consideration in the Corona virus outbreak and the unfortunate impact it is having on the not just on my friends in the hospitality and travel industry, but an impact felt in every industry segment globally.


So, now what do we do? While it seems reasonable that the global impact (when you look at the numbers hovering at about 100,000 + cases is still statistically small when compared to millions impacted by the flu annually), to continue in our daily activities as if nothing is happening is NOT the best course of action. Now is the time to prepare for “what if” scenarios or what would be called “crisis planning”.


All organizations should be prepared to deal with the impact of this global health epidemic and planning for how your company will handle cancellations of businesses, possible quarantines, etc. should be paramount. If the Corona virus ended tomorrow, your business should still have a crisis plan in place for unknown situations such as weather events, natural disasters, terrorist attacks and the like. This is by no means meant to scare or create fear in anyone, but to create awareness and understanding to seize the opportunity now to plan to mitigate some of the loss and painful situations that arise during crisis scenarios. #crisisplanning #coronavirus #economics #globaleconomy #businessplanning #businessconsulting #alignmentadvising


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