This new way of doing business and living everyday has been caused by the Pandemic –

COVID 19. It is a “mass murderer” – destroying lives by the millions worldwide and causing our

interaction with one another to be in continuous change minute by minute. Life is so different

than it was six months ago. What big mandatory changes are in store for us during the next six

months. It seems all we can do is pray. It is out of our control!

Here are just a few examples of what we are talking about:

National Sports: Who would have thought that such venues such as football, basketball,

baseball, car racing, etc. would have bans on seating. It is hard to believe we are going into

baseball season with football and basketball following and no fans will be allowed to participate

by sitting and cheering their favorite teams.

This past weekend was the debut of this season’s NASCAR racing. Missing were the hundreds

of thousands of fans in the seats and the tailgating that would go on for miles. The event was

void of fan participation, crowd noise and boisterous cheering. The cars were racing at top

speeds as usual but there was silence with only the announcers saying anything. You just

could not get into the mood to watch and follow the progress of the event.

We cannot imagine trying to follow a football or basketball game with just commentary from the

announcer and no emotion coming from the stands -what stands? The stadiums will be

completely empty. Who would sit down and devote time and emotion to watch such a dull

telecast? No one!

Let us think of the entertainment industry. That is going to dry up and fade away. We are

supposed to be going to a family reunion this summer in Las Vegas. We guess that is going to

be a flop. The casinos will be closed and the hotel space very limited. There will be no tables

for us to sit down and gamble. So much for family reunions?

One of the painful changes to our lifestyle is the loss of visiting our grandson. He is two years

old and lives in town. Every weekend we would meet at altering locations. Now all we can do is

meet in a parking lot with our cars two yards apart. We get out and wave from a distance. No

hugging, holding, and cuddling is allowed. We watch and shout at each other for about twenty

minutes and that is it. Then we part for about two weeks at least. This is painful!

Cities that depend on conferences coming to town for additional revenue and interaction are

going to have to do without the annual funding that is involved. Washington, DC is a conference

center and the biggest conference is usually the Congressional Black Caucus. Well, it was just

announced, this year they will have a “digital or virtual” conference. All those travels, hotel,

entertainment, eating and dancing venues will no longer be experienced. A Hallmark has just

been retired.

Businesses have been forced to close. Many will never reopen. Washington, DC looks like it is a

scene from the movie I am Legend with its streets devoid of cars and sidewalks with no


People have lost their jobs and many that still have jobs, work from home. We have read that

pajama pants are selling out. No one needs to buy suits anymore. Children are being home

schooled (which is not a bad thing) but parents are overwhelmed.

Another shocker comes from the California State College System. All 23 campuses will not

open to the public. Classes will be held in virtual time slots via computers. There will be no

college life in the most populous state in the country. Imagine going four years for your college

education and never attending a class with your physical presence. The huge campuses will

become ghost towns.

How can we go through airports when we cannot come within six feet of another person? How

can we sit in a plane or go on a cruise? Going to grocery stores is like trying to complete an

obstacle course. Gone is the formality of a handshake or a hug. This city has become a place

full of strangers!

Every time we think of change or hope we understand that phase II of this pandemic is surely

going to come in a few months causing havoc and more horror.

The big mystery is how long do we have to suffer? Will things get better or worse? Are we

going through Armageddon and don’t even realize it? Dear Lord, we pray for answers and

solutions to this awful mess we are now in. Our way of life has been turned upside down with

no end in sight. All we can do is pray and pray hard!

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of

Commerce®. Kay DeBow is the co-Founder, executive vice president of the Chamber.

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