It feels a little like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster. In a matter of weeks, our concerns have shifted from raging bushfires to a global pandemic. Our attention is now drawn to graphs and no-nonsense medical summaries, vastly different from the dark skies and smoke. Just as significant was the difference in our initial reaction to both situations.
Where our communities rallied together to support those affected by the fires, as the impending potential impact of the COVID-19 virus on our daily lives became apparent, fuelled by anxiety and panic, some went to a much more insular place. Their sense of community became blinkered by the unknown – thankfully, that is starting to shift.
The implications of the current medical situation are about so much more than how many spare rolls of toilet paper you can stockpile. With social distancing being advised for all, particularly those who are more at risk, we are taking responsibility for ourselves, and our neighbours to heart, and the resulting innovation is just remarkable.
In response to public suggestions, supermarkets are now opening earlier exclusively for the elderly and at-risk. The actions of a woman in the UK, reaching out to help her neighbours by simply placing a card in their letter box asking how she can help them, has sparked a global movement. People all over the world are stepping up to help however they can.
We’re starting to acknowledge that not only are individuals at risk, the organisations that support them are also challenged. Continued donor support is vital to keep their work on track, and cope with any escalation as a result of the current social isolation conditions. In a much more positive Hollywood association, celebrities are starting to step up to highlight the positive power of community. Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have just donated one million dollars to charities providing food for those struggling financially, using their social media to highlight the importance of engaging outside of your own needs.
In a similar way, other secondary implications of the virus are becoming apparent. As large-scale events are cancelled, the income of short-term event staff and performers has been severely compromised. When the NBA season was shut down, players and clubs have stepped up to pay the venue staff out of their own pockets, aware that for minimum wage staff and their families, the financial impact would be significant.
This is a challenging time for us all as individuals, and even more challenging for those already in compromised or at-risk situations. The wave of engagement and behaviour is turning, it is up to all of us to keep the boat steady and act responsibly. Our vigilance around our actions, and how they impact our communities, is such an integral part of what makes us a fundamentally giving and caring society.
Chief Customer Officer