Is it safe to be a face in the crowd again in 2022? Covid-19 continues to steal the show, but the actors are waiting in the wings as the audience takes their seats.
Covid restrictions imposed on the leisure and hospitality industries had an economic and psychological impact. Not being able to get out like before added an unsettling level of drama to an already dire situation.
Can’t We Just Get Back to Being Abnormal Again?
Maybe you long for the pre-Covid days of going a mile a minute at your job in the hospitality industry? Perhaps you’re getting your squad ready for a cruise to the Bahamas for a competition with 1,000 other cheerleaders?
There is an element of excitement in not knowing what you might see on any given day or night in happy times. Whether it is your job or your passion, it is an element of life missing the past two years.
What have guests learned? What do hosts take forward?
Providing a Safer Guest Experience
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, leisure and hospitality industries lost 49 percent of their workforce in the first two months of the pandemic. This includes the arts, entertainment, recreation, hotel, and food industries.
Concerts, hotels, theme parks, and recreational facilities have adapted to change. They can seat at capacity again, but capacities are monitored, cleaning stations provided, masks and gloves worn by teams, and more attention paid to overall safety.
Abiding by laws and providing safe guest experiences used to be a luxury. Now it is a necessity. It’s not enough to be fun anymore; you must be safe.
Waiting for All the Doors to Open
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends that everyone ages two and above wear masks indoors in public areas where the Covid-19 Community Level is high. Fortunately, most places in the United States are low.
As of March 16, 76 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and 65 percent have completed the primary series of vaccines. On January 16, 2022, there were 800,000 daily cases of Covid reported, and on March 22, there were 27,000, the lowest number since early July 2021.
We are not out of the woods yet. The ripple effect on all industries, particularly leisure and hospitality, is profound and enduring. It has been a time of change, but people want to get out, and the numbers indicate they are.
Is it Safe to Be a Face in the Crowd?
Carnival Cruise Line (CCL), which celebrated its 50th birthday on March 11, reports a 20 percent increase in guests carried during Q1 2022 over Q4 2021 despite the surge of the Omicron variant. Comprehensive Covid protocols have ensured the safety aboard all Carnival’s cruise lines.
In a March 22 press release, Carnival Corporation & plc President, CEO/CCO, Arnold Donald, cited the immensity of scale CCL faced establishing new protocols during the pandemic while looking forward.
“With 75 percent of our capacity having resumed guest cruise operations, we are well on our way back to full cruise operations,” he said, “and we are planning to return the balance of the fleet by our summer seasons.”
Are we better off from lessons learned during the pandemic? Time will tell, but we hope everyone will feel safe to be a face in the crowd again in 2022.