The (Not So) Happiest Place on Earth?

This past week, there were some major developments reminding us that COVID is still impacting our daily lives. Cases are rising again in many cities in the US and around the globe – Europe seems to be at the start of a second wave – and news was released that our President and the First Lady have tested positive for the virus. While the summer brought about a sense of normalcy for many, there is no question that this virus is far from gone.

Disney announced they were cutting a whopping 28,000 jobs across its parks, experiences and consumer products divisions. Other big names joined in too; Royal Dutch Shell said it was cutting between 7,000-9,000 jobs and US Airlines are on the verge of permanently shedding nearly 30,000 workers who have been furloughed since March if more stimulus is not provided by the government. The recent bouts of layoffs may signal the economic recovery is not going as well as people hoped and we may have a long way to go before our economy too returns to steady, sustainable growth.

While Disney’s Magic Kingdom is filled with fairy tales and happy endings, it seems much of the country is experiencing just the opposite; a never-ending nightmare. Unemployment, while off the worst levels in April and May, is still stubbornly high. Our economy just can’t operate fully and fairly with 8% unemployment. Furthermore, the rapid pace and surge of unemployment applications are clogging up the state unemployment systems. In our home state of New Jersey, many individuals have waited up to six months before seeing a dime in unemployment insurance. Certain industries have been devastated. Restaurants, movie theaters (which we wrote about last week), theme parks, tourism, the list goes on… Many are even questioning if some of these industries will ever return!

Eventually, there will either be herd-immunity or some type of vaccination or therapeutic that will instill confidence in people to return to their daily ways and lives. In every children’s tale, there is a lesson, so let’s find one here… Just think of how much worse this situation would have been twenty, ten or even just five years ago!

No one has a magic crystal ball for the real world, but if you look for it, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.