Dear Ma, you wouldn’t believe what is happening right now in this crazy world. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. There’s this virus called COVID-19 that is sweeping the planet. It is putting hundreds of thousands of people in the hospital and in the ground and it just keeps growing. There is no cure, so pretty much our planet has been shut down. I mean, Ma, it is affecting everybody from Wall Street to the most remote corners of the globe.
People are ordered to stay in their homes unless it is absolutely necessary to leave. I think this global tragedy will go down in history as something that has adversely affected people’s lives on the level of the Great Depression and WWII. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong and I hope I am, Ma. I do know that the world’s financial economy is in the toilet and it ain’t looking good anytime soon.
Here in Texas and in most states, the governor has closed most businesses unless you’re considered an “essential” business. Restaurants are considered an essential business, so we can stay open, but only for take-out. There is no dining in. My restaurant/bar business is down 98%. My motorcycle shop and my Hot Rod shop are also considered essential because we repair vehicles, but we have very little traffic.
OK, so my business is driven by Strokers Ice House — my bar and grill. Now I have no traffic and I am losing tens of thousands of dollars a week in revenue! I’ve had to send many of my employees home because I have no traffic to support them being here. PLUS, the government wants pretty much everybody to stay home and most people are. They say that’s the only way to curtail the spread of the virus. Most people are abiding by these mandates, but some people are carrying on as normal, which is a mistake.
The government is trying to put a stimulus package in place to compensate individuals and companies for the loss of income. We are doing everything we can to keep our employees working, but it’s impossible. I don’t have anything for them to do since I don’t have hardly any traffic coming in the doors. PLUS, I don’t have the money to pay the payroll if everybody works. I’m working a skeleton crew and it’s a mighty skinny skeleton. Hopefully the stimulus package will come through so I can put all my employees back on the payroll. That will help, but the bottom line is, we have to stop this COVID-19 virus so that our world can get back to normal, albeit a new normal.
Ma, I’d like to report some better news, but I don’t have any. The talking heads on the TV set say that up to 30% of all businesses that close during the virus shutdown will never open again. Unemployment is at record levels since the Great Depression. I’m shaking my head as I write this, Ma. I believe it. I believe that many companies will never reopen their doors and most of us that do will never be the same.
But Ma, I think, in a strange way, this deadly virus has helped bring the world together, a smaller world, I guess. We are all fighting the same battle and we are all in this together. The world’s smartest doctors and medical research people across the planet are working feverously to find a cure and I have no doubt that them smart cats will indeed find a cure. In the meantime, we will all do the best we can to adjust to this “new normal,” whether we like it or not…and we don’t!
Love ya, Ma.
Please ask God to be with us, we really need him right now!
Rick Fairless owns Strokers Dallas, Strokers Ice House & Punch Wally Garage, as well as a few other businesses.