Covid-19 Pandemic Causing Nightmares Far And Wide

Jim Luff
Posted on March 16, 2020

From raided shelves by hoarders. . .

From raided shelves by hoarders. . .

Last week I took my last and final business trip for a while. I had intended to fill this space with positive news about GCLA’s annual Legislative Day. We got good news not only from our legislators, but also from the Public Utilities Commission. However, I’ll let our news article bring you up to speed about that event while I share some of my personal nightmares of the last week.

I arrived at the Burbank airport about an hour before my flight. As I boarded a shuttle bus from the parking lot to the airport terminal, I overheard a manager tell my shuttle driver he needed to clock out and go home after dropping me off as there wasn’t enough business to keep him on for the day. I felt bad for him and tipped him a $20 hoping it would make a small dent in his loss of daily wages.

The terminal was mostly empty. I sailed through TSA within two minutes. I found my gate area occupied by one person. I panicked thinking I was at the wrong gate. Ultimately, there were seven people on the plane and we had just 17 passengers on the way home. I found the Sacramento airport to be just as slow as Burbank had been the day before. In fact, I had dinner at the airport with Mark Stewart, legislative director for GCLA, and we had no wait at all to place our orders at a walk-up burger joint. It was becoming a clearer picture of all the people who are or will be affected by this pandemic.

I arrived back home and learned a JoJo Siwa concert had been canceled in my city. I had planned to take my three granddaughters to see her perform. Next, I learned a craft beer festival I attend each year had been canceled. I also go to a mac & cheese festival every April, whose organizers announced they are unsure about it.

The final hit was when my wife told me she may be quarantined at her work. She is a 911 emergency call center supervisor. They are short seven staff members due to illness or medical or maternity leave, so they must protect the remaining dispatchers.

. . . to a bustin' pantry and refrigerator. (photos: Jim Luff)

. . . to a bustin' pantry and refrigerator. (photos: Jim Luff)

If she gets quarantined at work, I will have enough food to feed a small army. Like the rest of the world, I panicked after watching the news on Friday night and seeing the runs on grocery stores. I began my grocery shopping trip at 6 a.m. Saturday. I visited Walmart, Albertson’s grocery store, Smart & Final wholesale foods, Target, and finally a little Mexican meat market known as a carniceria where I found an abundance of meat such as whole chickens, roasts, and ground beef that I froze. I heard by late afternoon even the carniceria was wiped out. Toilet paper, paper towels, anti-bacterial wipes, bread, milk, and eggs are hard to come by in my town. Even the nasty powdered milk packets were sold out.

This is America’s nightmare. The only people receiving a financial boost are hand sanitizer companies, toilet paper manufacturers, grocery stores, and hospitals. I suppose for the funeral industry it is always insulated from economic crashes like this. Thinking outside of our industry zone, I am concerned about all the hourly workers at amusement parks, banks, schools, casinos, and gyms who will be out of work since no one is coming.

The effect on hotels and tourism is vast and wide. Hotels host many events, meetings, and conventions and buy lots of food. There are salespeople who sell the food; cooks who prepare it; and servers who are now sitting on the sidelines. Housekeeping staff won’t be needed as rooms won’t need cleaning.

Looking at our own industry in an expanded view, we are part of the passenger transportation industry. That includes luxury ground transportation, air travel, cruise ships, public transit systems, and even TNCs. That’s hundreds of thousands of people including drivers, pilots, train operators, conductors, dispatchers, cleaning/detail staff, reservationists, account executives, and others who are now out of work. Now is the time to apply for a Small Business Administration loan, call your credit card companies to ask for an extension, and call your other creditors to see what terms can be arranged to delay or spread out payments to those you owe money to.

LCT has been an industry resource for more than 36 years. We have been through several recessions and 9/11 and will continue to search for financial resources and assistance to help our industry make it through this difficult time. We are standing by you through this national emergency.

Related Topics: coronavirus, covid-19, crisis management, disasters, emergency planning, emergency preparedness, GCLA, Greater California Livery Association, Jim Luff, LCT blog

Jim Luff General Manager
Comments ( 1 )
  • Rick Mcdonald

     | about 3 months ago

    Lot needs to help transport companies by making a sample “essential business” letter for companies when the state has shelter in place ordinances or restrictions that are a misdemeanor for being outside without proper documentation

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