In this moment of panic, small business owners like me have difficult decisions to make that will impact many lives whether our decision proves good or bad, right or wrong. I have made my decision on how Tavern on Kruse will navigate these times and I am confident in my decision.
As of yesterday (3/12), there were 1,323 known cases of Covid-19 in the United States, which has a population of 400 million. That’s .0000033075 of our country’s population.
As of today, there are 24 known cases of Covid-19 in Oregon, which has a population of 4,194,000. That’s .000005487 of our local population.
China, with 81,000 cases among its population of 1.4 billion, is only seeing 26 new cases a day. It took them about 10 weeks between the time they discovered a problem and have almost put an end to it. (Sources: Oxford University – decline in cases; NYTimes – timeline)
Despite the fact that our President fired the U.S. Pandemic Response Team from the CDC in 2018, the amount of federal and local resources, including investigative and preventative medical talent working to get ahead of and thereby contain this virus and keep us and other communities around the country safe is unparalleled. If China can contain the spread of 81,000 cases down to 24 per day within 10 weeks, the USA with a tiny fraction of the cases can, too.
Some “shut downs” make sense. Some don’t. Shutting schools down is tough on parents, but every parent knows that kids contract illnesses like magnets because they do not exercise the caution and preventative measures that we adults understand and have at our disposal. Flights, borders, basketball games… maybe. But don’t think for a second that Disneyland voluntarily shut down for health reasons; it shut down because there is no demand for Disneyland in this panic while its hourly payroll exceeds $350,000 per day.
Which leads me to why I feel we must exercise incomparable caution and heightened sterilization measures but must stay open: I have 34 employees, 31 are hourly and like most people in the service industries, they couldn’t pay their rent or feed their families without coming to work. Tavern would survive, but the people who make Tavern amazing would suffer needlessly.
Psychology Today published a great article on why we humans “over-react”to make ourselves feel safe when dealing with the unknown. I don’t believe that I have the luxury of overreacting. Statistically, even if and when the known cases double, at 150 guests per day, it would take Tavern 84 weeks before we served our first Oregonian with Covid-19 – and yet it only took China 10 weeks to shut it down.