I was supposed to write a blog post about a wedding we did last year and post a whole bunch of beautiful, light-filled photos from a time that was far less daunting. Where people were able to fill the room with little concern of the health of another affecting them. Where people would talk to each other, hug each other, kiss each other, in times of celebration and very little regard for anything else.
Times have changed, and we in the events industry are currently watching the whole thing envelope us.
I'm now writing this blog from my home, in my pyjamas, with my bored little dog sleeping soundly next to me, and wondering what can I do to help my fellow man out of this CRAZY time.
The truth of the matter is, there are a lot of industries that will come out of this unscathed. Financial institutions, online shopping portals, virtual services. They might take a little bit of a hit, but nothing compared to what the service-based industry will face. Everyone in the hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries - from servers, to bartenders, to cooks, to event managers (hi!), to hotel representatives, to travel agents, to theatre performers, everyone who works back and front of house in customer service - we're all here wondering if we will come out on the other side alive.
We depend on people showing up. We depend on crowds. And just like that, in a snap, we have no one else to serve.
So what can you do, as a consumer, to help during this time?
1. Don't cancel. Postpone. This epidemic is going to pass, and we'd like to believe in the next couple of weeks, perhaps the next couple of months. But it will pass. And when we rise out of this, we want you to celebrate! And we want to celebrate with you! So please, don't panic, and don't pull the plug just yet. Many event professionals depend on retainers for their livelihood, especially in a city like Toronto where events mainly happen 4-6 months out of the year when it's warmer out.
2. See how else to support local businesses. Order takeout. Deliver flowers to another person. Tip where you can. Buy tickets for a future performance (even if it's 6-months to a year out). Sign up for webinars so educators and mentors can still teach.
3. Be active on social media and keep people present! If small businesses around you are still posting on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/Tik Tok, etc. etc. then SHARE their posts. Tag people that might like the content! Keep the buzz going! Keep them relevant!
4. Be sympathetic to home and small business owners. If you had a less than stellar experience with someone that owns a small business - please be compassionate and bear in mind that they are also human and trying to provide for their family. These unprecedented measures are making normal, daily life extremely stressful, and more so if these small business owners are also parents.
5. Reach out if you know of other opportunities. If you know of a contract job, a cash job, a temp job or even if you have a job to spare - don't