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Perspective | Make Plans for the Post-Pandemic

Today’s economic pain will become opportunity for those who prepare

By Mark Green

Mark Green is the editorial director of The Lane Report.

Business likes certainty.

Uncertainty makes it hard for businesses to plan, to budget, to set and achieve goals. Certainty is a high-value ingredient in good planning, goal setting and good performance. But 2020 has brought uncertainty unlike any year in memory.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate the news because it keeps impacting and disrupting everyday lives, damaging our economy and our health, creating a rippling cascade of problems, some of which will take years to recover from. I must admit it’s difficult to argue there is too much negative news about the impact of a pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 of our fellow Americans.

Most schools are not now open, a disruption and complication for every family and many employers. Most sports, social events, conventions and other gatherings are not happening—or like the Kentucky Derby, taking place without spectators—denying us beloved rituals, entertainment and satisfaction while preventing a tremendous amount of economic activity from occurring.

It’s understandable that we are stressed, depressed and sometimes angry.

However, as a long-time member of the media, and especially after more than a decade at The Lane Report, the view from here is that there is not enough news about the positive things that are happening. While the focus has been on COVID-19, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that much progress is also being made across our state.

It’s in the pages of our magazine and on our website.

Deals are being made. Massive construction projects are progressing: a $130 million Diageo distillery in Lebanon, a $650 million Nucor steel mill expansion in Gallatin County and a new $1.35 billion Nucor mill in Meade County, and a $1.5 billion Amazon Air hub that opens next year at the airport in Hebron, to name a few. Louisville is beginning to implement two of the most advanced tech-forward workforce training partnerships in the world.

As we have reported to you, the medical community and business sectors have discovered new efficiencies in telehealth and teleworking. E-commerce is growing, and Kentucky’s powerful logistics sector is a beneficiary.

And most importantly, there is certainty that the current pandemic will subside. Scientists around the world and our nation, some of them here in our state, are working on multiple potential vaccines for COVID-19. The current disruption will resolve. Schools will reopen, students will return and parents will get back to familiar work routines. Some long-delayed memorial services will be held. We will mourn the demise of too many familiar business operations. But conventions and other gatherings will resume. Sporting events with thousands of cheering fans will occur, and the participants will travel, stay in hotels and eat in restaurants again.

There is a pent up and growing demand to do all these things. When we are able to return to what will be a new, changed normal, it will unleash a burst of economic activity that will itself dominate our news coverage.

Yes, there is ongoing uncertainty regarding when that will be, and the pain is very, very real in the meantime. But there is certainty that renewal is coming, and a need to plan for it.

Mark Green is editorial director of The Lane Report. Opinions expressed are those of the writer and not The Lane Report.