Think back to March 2020, when COVID-19 started to take over the US. I was in Central America on a 10-day cruise as the virus swept the world. As we sailed around the seas, ports were closing due the virus. We wondered what we would find when we returned home. According to the international news, there was no toilet paper or food left on the shelves in Michigan. It was truly a disaster.
We were lucky in that we were able to get off our ship at the end of the cruise and fly back to Michigan. No one on our ship was ever reported sick. We arrived back in Detroit on March 18, 2020, and the State of Michigan had not gone into mandatory quarantine yet. However, the airport parking lot was almost empty. Based on our international travels, we decided to self-quarantine just in case we had been exposed to the virus. A few days later, a tenant on my floor came down with the virus, and the landlord had to clean our entire floor. I was relieved that I had chosen not to go to the office on the day we returned. Less than a week after we’d arrived home, Governor Whitmore declared a state of emergency in Michigan and closed every business unless it was essential.
What I Did During the COVID-19 Disaster
One item I hadn’t included in my past emergency plans was the mail. While I could go into the building and get the mail, it was strongly discouraged. Additionally, it had only been 10 days since I’d arrived home. Therefore, the incubation period of the virus was still four days away.
I had a large check which was supposed to be paid and was now late. I called the payor and he let me know the exact date the check was mailed. So, I put on my mask and brought a huge container of disinfectants to assist with touching any doors or locks I had to access in order to check the mail. Arriving early in the morning, it was strange to walk through this huge, beautiful building with no people in sight. In the mail were bills and two checks! Bingo! Then it dawned on me that I needed to change my disaster recovery plan in case I could not get back into the building in the future.
I changed my process so that, henceforth, all receivables and payables are sent to my home instead of the office. If we relocate the office, the only thing that needs to change is the address on the stationary and the website so that people can meet in the office if need be. Hint: Don’t forget to include a note about where bills and account receivables are being sent.