When the coronavirus started in Wuhan, China in December 2019, nobody knew it was going to wreak havoc of unimaginable proportion at a level we’ve not seen since the influenza epidemic of 1889–90. In addition to over one million people who died from the virus, millions of people lost their jobs, and businesses were forced to close. The virus is forever going to change our ways of life.
In addition to business closures, industries around the world were forced to shut down to comply with the government’s lockdown restrictions. For example, Huge Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) is one of the companies that was forced to lay off thousands of employees or reduce their salaries, thousands of Small and Medium-sized businesses went out of business and the global economic market suffered a massive hit.
We take a look at some of the key businesses that were impacted forever by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
Airlines: Airlines lost billions of dollars between March 2020 and July 2020 and most countries decided to close their borders and not allow international visitors to come in. This had a massive impact on the finances of airline operators around the world who started losing millions of dollars on a daily basis because of the travel ban.
Even as countries started to relax their travel restrictions, air travel continued to suffer as the majority of people were not willing to take the risk and travel due to COVID-19 fears. Airlines continue to operate flights but are losing money as passengers continue to stay at home. All airline operators have had to change their standard operating procedures (SOPs) to comply with new travel regulations. If things don’t improve in early 2021, expect more airlines to go out of business.
Casinos: The global land-based casino industry also suffered billions of dollars in losses as they went into complete shutdown. Most casino resorts in places like Macau, Las Vegas, and Singapore run multiple hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, nightclubs, and convention centers. In recent months, some governments have given casino operators approval to reopen provided they comply with strict social distancing measures.
Many casinos are only taking in 50 percent of foot traffic and do not have all of their facilities open to the public. A number of casino operators have claimed that they are struggling to break even with this operating model and are pushing their governments for approval to open fully.
What turned out to be a disaster for the land-based casino industry, turned into a great opportunity for the online casino industry. All those players who could no longer go to a brick & mortar casino decided to check out online casinos and play their favorite games online. In an unexpected way, online operators were given a 6-month window to change the behavior of traditional gamblers. And they took the opportunity with both hands.
iGaming operators reported a major spike in online traffic and their gaming revenues skyrocketed. When land-based casinos reopened, online casino operators reported that their player traffic did not decline by a significant number.
Movies: Top movie industries across the world including Hollywood and Bollywood came to a shutdown due to COVID-19. Movie producers have to push back dates, cancel previous agreements upon contracts, and take financial losses due to the inability to film and meet production deadlines. Movie theatres were also closed throughout the world which meant that they suffered massive losses as well due to ticket sales.
However, the lockdown caused companies like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube to witness a significant spike in traffic as millions of individuals in lockdown mode spent hours on end streaming and watching their favorite movies, TV shows, and reality shows. These online streaming sites saw an uptick in revenues due to the lockdown and made the most of this opportunity to increase their subscriber base.
Sports: The global sports market also went into lockdown mode as top international sports including football, cricket, tennis, and athletics came to a halt. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics was postponed due to COVID-19 and top sporting leagues such as the National Basketball League (NBA), Major Baseball League (MLB), Indian Premier League (IPL), and National Hockey League (NHL) was suspended.
The players were put in a difficult situation as they could not practice and many of them could not even go to a gym and workout. This was a very difficult situation for Olympic athletes who train hard for four consecutive years to prepare for Olympic Gold. It was also difficult for sports fans as they could no longer watch their favorite sports and players on live television. They had to be content watching old games for their sports fix.
The new normal for sports leagues and international sports is to create bio-bubbles and play in front of empty stadiums. Initially, most athletes did not want to play in front of empty stadiums but when they saw that COVID-19 was not going away anytime soon, they agreed to play in empty stadiums.
Sports fans cannot go to live games but are happy to see the live-action from top leagues like the NBA, NFL, and IPL.
Post COVID-19 Future: First world countries continue to wait on a COVID-19 vaccine before they can resume and get back to normal. There is no indication as of now as to when a tried and test vaccine will be able.
Third-world countries on the other hand have been forced to open up and get back to business as usual as their industries can no longer take a financial hit.