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Will we be back to normal by Christmas? #finance

It might be a little bit early to be thinking about Christmas but it is an important time for many businesses. Will we back to normal by Christmas? I think it is very unlikely and if we try to get back to normal it could trigger a second (or third) wave of the coronavirus. We may have to resign ourselves to the fact that Christmas will be cancelled in its usual form.

Will we be back to normal by Christmas?

Stimulus

The Bank of England gave us a little stimulus in the form of $100 billion in QE (quantitative easing). Was it enough? Stock market investors weren’t too impressed but the market has been subdued yesterday and today so maybe it was better than nothing. Some of that newly created cash will end up being invested in the market, some will end up in the London property market to push up house prices even more and some might end up being invested in gold. I expect some will be used for the furlough scheme but that seems unclear.

Winners and losers

There are always winners and losers. Online sales are doing well and so the likes of Amazon will be a winner and the supermarkets are seeing online sales soar too. The losers are the airlines and holiday companies. We also see the smaller companies struggling while the bigger ones are coping quite well. Taylor Wimpey raised capital to take advantages of opportunities that the crisis might expose. They raised money through Primary Bid to buy land.

Furloughed

Many people who have been furloughed now have to think about returning to work. Is it safe for them to do so? Workers are asking themselves how safe is a “Covid secure” workplace? It seems workers will have to make judgments themselves, the same as teachers in schools have had to do. It would seem that having enough space could be a problem for many businesses. Schools are looking at innovative ways to teach in smaller classes. They are considering ideas as varied as using tents and other public buildings such as libraries for classes. How can businesses separate their employees? Every business will have to make adjustments and the dangers lie with the ones that attract crowds like pubs and restaurants.

Will we back to normal by Christmas?

I don’t expect I’ll be celebrating Christmas as I usually do and I certainly won’t be going to Christmas parties or lunches. I am considered vulnerable to the virus, though. I’m sure many younger people will take risks and go to all the usual Christmas functions. It could trigger a second wave of the epidemic at Christmas. It’s not just the strain on our NHS that we should worry about but the backlog of work that needs to be done to treat people with other illnesses. We know people are dying from cancer because they aren’t getting treated as they would be normally. We need that test, track and trace working well. We also need to completely separate  Covid-19 patients from the general hospital population. People are avoiding hospitals because they are high risks places. Will we be back to normal by Christmas? I very much doubt it.

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