Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Coronavirus is effecting all of us - in ways we never might have expected

I just received an email from a reporter asking how the Coronavirus is effecting my business. If he had asked me a couple of weeks ago, I would have told him that my biggest concern was whether or not the Olympics would go on in Tokyo this summer as planned.

Last Tuesday the IOC announced that the Olympics would go on as planned (at least for now). After two years of preparations, this was good news.

Then, last weekend, as I was driving to photograph a personal event, I got a text from a photographer friend of mine asking if I had any cancellations or postponed personal events yet. We both photograph a lot of Bar Mitzvah, but I was surprised to hear that an event this small (averaging 150 people) would be effected by the COVID-19 virus.

Then a couple of hours ago I got a text message from a coordinator notifying all vendors that our Bar Mitzvah for next weekend is being postponed. And of course, the future date they picked has been booked for quite some time.

An hour ago I received an email from the UCSF Hospital that their annual prom for their patients (which I have volunteered to shoot for many years), has been cancelled.

I also saw a message from a very well known photographer / videographer in the business saying that he has no jobs left on his schedule. Every one of his corporate clients has cancelled on him.

This situation is like nothing we have ever encountered in our businesses and it leaves me with more questions than answers, like:

* Are more people thinking about canceling or postponing small personal events?
* Are people overreacting, or is this justified?
* How do I handle a client's deposit if I can not photograph their rescheduled event?
* How long will all this last?

It is a scary time right now, first and foremost for health reasons, but also for the stock market, for big business, and small businesses too.

I just hope that this Coronavirus goes away quickly and we can all be healthy and get back to normal.

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Gord said...

Hi Jeff

I shoot primarily sports and I have had numerous cancellations this week mostly due to leagues and school sports cancelling all games,

With regards to the deposits I think you need to weigh the "bad publicity" you will receive and potential loss of business over the value of the deposit. You have stated on YouTube videos that your business is almost all word of mouth. If you refuse to return a deposit I can guarantee you that family will tell their friends about it.

1. Will there be more cancellations? Most definitely this period of abundance of caution has just begun.
2. Are people over reacting? OMG yes they are.
3. How long will it last? Good question.

I don't think there will be an Olympics or if there is it will be athletes only and no fans. USATF has cancelled all meets, NBA and NHL are shut down, the list is endless.

AMD said...

Hi Jeff,

I sympathize with you. Best estimates suggest that the situation is going to be more like a marathon than a sprint. So we should all be prepared for cancellations like these to last for many months, probably until end of the summer.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Not photography, but a small business selling "stuff" - Business has gone from high4, low 5 digits/day, to literally zero since Wednesday (OK, $7.39 - on Thursday). This is NOT walk in sales, this is all mail/internet orders