Caesars Entertainment, for example, has changed its rules in opening its nine casinos, now mandating that guests wear face masks -- or be shown the door.
AMC Theaters also changed its opening rules. After initially giving theatergoers an option, it is now also mandating face masks. In addition, Apple has re-closed some stores — because of rising COVID-19 cases. Nearly two dozen Southern and Western states, including Arizona, Texas, California, and Florida, have seen virus spikes.
It's not just a health-issue -- but a strong business-related story reported on TV news networks.
This isn’t a typical linear TV news story line. We don't know when or where the final act is headed.
We do know this: It will likely go on for the rest of 2020 and well into 2021 -- along the same warning lines set out by public national infection experts back in January.
If this is the new normal, TV business issues will be affected for longer than initially predicted. That means delays in the production of TV shows, big brand marketing messaging stops and starts, and halting media-buying decisions.
This includes the highly watched $20 billion upfront prime-time buying season. Look for more piecemeal, near-term media-buying decisions. Long-term? All I see are media/marketing executives shaking their collective heads.
Even promising getting-back-to-normal signs are iffy. Major League Baseball's season is set to start in late July — but it isn’t out of the woods.
Currently, there are a number of players who have tested positive for the virus. What happens when baseball players -- or larger numbers of players -- test positive during the season. Or worse, if they are hospitalized?
Will some games get cancelled -- in an already shortened 60-game season? Will more players just decide to sit out the season? And what do TV networks do in covering those games? TV advertising executives will be left shaking their heads.
What we need -- as much as possible -- is more data. Business executives -- even when they complain about too much data -- need COVID-19 stats. Even rough information is better than no information.
Right now, we have too little information when it comes to the biggest piece: testing. This includes 1) who has had the virus; 2) who has it now; 3) who has the antibodies; and 3) who is most vulnerable in getting it in the near term.
Such information won't hasten treatments or a vaccine. But it may offer help in predicting trends about consumer marketing businesses.
If not, we’re going to take bigger lumps along the way. Place your bets now -- or just stay on the sidelines.