PP17 – Business in times of Coronavirus
I feel this is going to be a few interesting months. So keeping track of things as they progress. A sort of coronavirus diary if you would like. No idea if/when I will post all of this yet or how often.
I feel like we are going to have a LOT more time on our hands in the coming weeks/months.
Shit really started hitting the fan this week. Cancellations, and literally zero enquiries. We have a few customers in the pipe for the next week or so, they are all already in the country so they have confirmed again they are coming. After that, who knows.
Funny how things progress really fast. Two weeks ago we were joking about this. One week ago Antoine was debating whether to fly home or not for work stuff. Now that doesn’t look like an option at all.
And then yesterday I spent my evening trying to rebook our new staff to somewhere else than Singapore to pick up her work permit, as they announced quarantine for all passengers coming from Asia starting tomorrow. She was due to fly Wednesday, not possible anymore. Now she is flying to Malaysia tomorrow and we are crossing fingers she can get back in.
Borders are shutting down one country after the other. People are getting stranded everywhere. I am torn between: “how stupid can it be to stock up on toilet paper” and “how stupid can you be to still go out and potentially spread germs everywhere to other people, the faster this slows down the faster we can get back to our lives”. But I am like everyone else, when this was a vague thing in China I wasn’t too sure. Now that my parents might get sick, I want them to stay home.
Not so torn about “so we are all in this shit because someone somewhere decided to eat a bat or a pangolin, thanks dudes”. Oh and for those who don’t know what a pangolin looks like:
Why on Earth would anyone eat that? Pangolins are probably having a good laugh right now.
The franticness and news being updated every 5 seconds is really great for anxiety management isn’t it. This morning I had to look up border shutdowns again, then got forwarded 5 different messages about schools and some harbours shutting down in Bali. Called a friend in KL to double check border shutdown. Got customers cancelling first thing in the morning and then changing their mind. Like everyone else I feel like I am glued to the news and my feeds. Clearly one of the down side of consignment and/or the anxiogenic vibe is that half of what I read is people being morons to each other because they disagree on what to do or what is true or false. Have some compassion and dignity, people. Calling your neighbour a moron is achieving absolutely nothing. You should be looking out for each other and help those that will struggle more than you.
I can’t believe it’s been only 48 hours.
Things progressed really fast. Yesterday, we decided to shut down all diving from Sunday 22nd onwards. We are basically honouring the bookings we had this week and that’s it.
The visa situation got worse. Malaysia closed borders in between the moment we booked the flight and the moment she was due to fly. So she didn’t.
This morning I had the day from hell. We went to immigration in Bali, who basically said they cannot do anything for us and she has to get out of the country as per her visa (that is on the 20th, tomorrow).
Then I spent 3 hours on the phone trying to find out what the deal was with Singapore. I talked to embassies, Ministry of Health, visa agent, etc. Our understanding was that she could go and she would likely be in quarantine for 2 weeks. So after going back and forth, and the only other option left being France, we decide to go for it. Quarantine it is, then.
Ensues more franticness as I am in Bali with a phone and the others in Penida with laptop, trying to book a flight while keeping me on the line.
Alas. When she showed up for the new flight (3rd one) in a week we booked for her, she got denied boarding by the airline on the motive that she was not a resident and it was their instructions.
Meanwhile while I was in Bali dealing with that pile of shit, Julia was in Penida giving our staff the bad news. I feel so bad for them. We have to cut their pay quite a bit and we have no idea how long we can do that for. I also feel that this is going to last longer than expected. Great time to be in the hospitality business, I can tell you that.
Last dives for a while yesterday, it felt weird. Then we sent everyone home, told them to buy food and stay in. I am not sure that they understood because today the Melasti celebrations were as big as ever. I am waiting to see how this all explodes here in about 10 days.
The visa situation mentioned above is finally getting sorted as since yesterday emergency visas are finally granted. We were just a day too early.
I realized today that at some point during this past week I made up my mind. I find it silly to keep pretending this is not happening here. It’s happening. I feel the responsible thing to do is to stay home as much as possible and limit contacts (my dog doesn’t count). If everyone does this, this thing will pass faster and we can all go back to our lives. Less will die, less businesses will go under, less people will be out of work for months and months.
So I stocked up food and the next few days is cooking and cleaning time. After Nyepi I will probably need a little routine so I don’t go bonkers. Craft and reading time it is.
To be continued...