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Despite the growing availability of vaccines, the pandemic continues to demand attention. A new strain is putting more people, including kids, at risk of infection. States and localities continue to tweak protocols in response to high infection rates and climbing daily death counts, requiring attention and adaptation. Employees are becoming more insistent about working on their own terms. And government relief efforts have put $1.4 trillion into personal savings accounts, cash that could lead to a spending binge and require Fed inflation-fighting steps (goodbye low interest rates?).ICesize

Get the details, and more, in the latest Insights Collective Briefing below.

The Insights Collective Weekly Briefing Sheet, Jan. 13, 2021



A new coronavirus mutation spreading across the county is upwards of 50% more contagious than the original strain.Cases traced back to the mutation were identified in California, Colorado, Florida, and New York. The mutation – B.1.1.7. - seems to infect children under 10 to a higher degree than the original version. It is believed that current versions of a vaccine will protect or confer immunity to the new variant.Source: NBC San Diego

And why is that important [Insights Collective]Many school districts have allowed in person learning for younger students since the original strain did not seem to infect them as readily. This new strain’s higher infection rate for them along with there not being vaccines tested and available for children yet could cause a shift in schools’ reopening plans. And, of course, these students are the ones that are too young to be home along while a parent works an also require more supervision and assistance with online learning which then impacts the parent's ability to work either in or outside the home.

The identified cases are community spread and are not associated with travel to/from the U.K. or other countries.



Washington state Governor Jay Inslee scrapped the county-by-county reopening approach in favor of a region-by-region approach.Starting January 11, every region across the state will start in Phase 1. To move forward into Phase 2, regions must have a 10% decrease in case rates over the prior two weeks and a 10% decrease in the COVID-19 hospital admissions rates. Regions must also have ICU occupancy below 90% and a test positivity rate below 10%. Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

And why is that important [Insights Collective] …Previously counties have been self-determinant in their state of operations, with local behavior determining restrictions, or not. Broad, regional approaches to restrictions can result in strongly compliant communities being forced into shutdown because of non-compliance in neighboring jurisdictions. Conversely, a broad stroke approach allows for wider compliance and resolution of caseloads that might not be successful with the more surgical model when cross-country travel is easy and uncontrollable.



Congress passed a new relief package which includes a $600 per individualdirect impact payments. Combined with the CARES Act’s $1.8 trillion (about $5,500 per person in the US) of fiscal aid, the new legislation brings the total amount of stimulus enacted in response to the pandemic to $2.7 trillion (about $8,300 per person in the US). Source: New York Magazine

And why is that important [Insights Collective] …Suppressed consumption spending, lower interest rates, and direct government payments have left U.S. consumers with $1.4 trillion (about $4,300 per person in the US)in excess savings to spend on pent-up demand for travel. The re-entry of that money into the marketplace is likely to require Federal Reserve intervention to avoid unintended inflation.



A letter to the editor in Chicago is making the rounds in hospitality circles. The opinion piece outlines a series of unsafe proposals that would force housekeepers to clean guest rooms every day – without fail. This proposed policy is at odds with Chicago Department of Public Health guidance that states housekeeping service should only be provided upon limit staff time in guest rooms. Source: Chicago Sun Times

And why is that important [Insights Collective] …The push to ensure housekeepers clean guest rooms every day is spearheaded by unions who want to ensure their members have enough work. Even in resort communities without a union presence, the balance between putting people back to work while ensuring their health and safety will be important until a vaccine is widely available.



1 in 3 working professionals say they would quit their jobs if they could notcontinue working remotely. Additionally, 42 percent of the workforce has been working from home full-time during the pandemic, white-collar office workers who can perform their jobs with a phone and a computer. Source: USA Today

And why is that important [Insights Collective] …Employees now expect to be able to work remotely and feel they – not the employer – can decide where and when they work. Organizations that do not offer this flexibility will have a harder time hiring and retainingemployees. In a growing number of cases, the ability to work from home will be a deal breaker for potential employees.


The COVID-19 Briefing Sheet is a weekly distribution of Insights Collective, an industry Think Tank focused on leading resorts and destinations through the New Realities ofmanagement, marketing, and positioning.

Publisher: Brian London. London Tourism Publications. Post Office Box 40849, Jacksonville, Florida 32203.