Pandemic reopening update

The mess we’ve created in society’s response to this pandemic re-opening hit me hard yesterday.

My wife was required to attend a training for managers charged with overseeing their office reopening. Apparently she will be in charge of approving the scheduling plans of her staff that largely want to continue to work from home vs the management that mostly wants people in desks at work. This sets the background for a wonderful holiday season atmosphere.

Meanwhile, I had coffee with a young factory manager, despite his acquired managerial skills, who has no idea how to manage a factory work force where half are screaming that non-vax rights are right up there with gun rights – and that a managerial mis-step might bring both into a workplace crisis. The other half are screaming that working elbow-to-elbow with unvaxed co-workers – some apparently even know to be spreading infection – is an unacceptable risk. Federal and state law seems to side with those who are scared, even if the fear is being used as a weapon against the employer.

Lately whenever I visit a commercial place, a Facebook message pops up asking me if that business is open an “normal” after the pandemic. It seems that small business staffs are still wearing masked around here while large organizations seem to have given up that effort. I try to take a “When in Rome…” approach to accommodating others but that is increasingly difficult to predict and assess.

Our Asian fishing visitors at the marina continue to wear masks, surgical gloves and sometimes shielded hoods when fishing outside hundreds of yards from any other person. It’s as if the virus is lurking in every perch they catch. I don’t understand, but I doubt that they wear the same get-up in other environments. I often feel annoyed when they leave the masks and gloves as litter – an almost daily event. Yes, I pick them up; no, I am not afraid of picking up an infection in cleanup duties.

I’ve decided that it is no longer safe for me to invite clients to meet in person at either my home office conference room at the bayshore or the home office in town. The business atmosphere is just too tense and I anticipate that it will get even more tense as tax prosecutions and foreclosures increase. Some business owners will have difficulty maintaining their ‘cool’ as they perceive government is screwing them and taking their homes and businesses in the aftermath of the pandemic. It already happens once a few weeks ago. I have a friend whose father was also a CPA who was shot and killed by a client irate over a tax dispute issue. So I know the risk is real. While most of my work is remote/virtual, it seems that live human contact is still important in building and maintaining trusting key advisor relationships. I’ve looked into various alternate work space possibilities, bit have no solution yet.

I’m just not sure what to do next.