Sept. 16, 2020

While sitting in a local restaurant this week, my thoughts turned to the restaurant business in general. This restaurant originally contained more than a dozen tables, but because of COVID-19, every other table had been removed to maintain at least a 6-foot distance between each group of diners. At current capacity, this restaurant can hope to operate only at 50 percent of its former capacity. During dinner time in this restaurant, only one other table was occupied, which made sales totals even worse.

Every small business probably can look back at January 2020 as the last time when business was normal. Most businesses will show comparisons of subsequent January sales from year to year as remaining constant or growing by some percentage each ensuing year. Normal business activity has gone in a positive direction for many years.

“Normal” has taken on a new meaning since January 2020. Several events occurred since January as the pandemic took command. Most crucial was the government requirement to close down the economy and request people to stay home. Even as government “shelter in place” requirements have eased over the months, required mask-wearing has made people wary of mixing with crowds.  Business activity in September 2020 has been curtailed noticeably when compared with business activity through January 2020.

All is not lost. Some businesses, such as sellers on the internet, have realized amazing success as people prefer to order from home and avoid crowds of shoppers. Our security industry also is doing well. First, emergency and lock repair business still is  necessary regardless of current conditions. Second, COVID-19 might spread by touching surfaces which have been touched previously by an infected individual. Requests for touchless hardware products are now in demand. Every commercial business where members of the public might enter and exit a location is a prime customer for a hardware upgrade to touchless products.

Future “normal” for locksmiths looks bright. However, normal never again will be the same as it was in January, 2020. My normal prediction for the future doesn’t include learning masterkeying or even learning automotive keymaking. Emphasis will be on interaction between electronic-based physical locks and smartphones. Residential, commercial and vehicle security all will be operated by smartphones, the ultimate touchless locking and unlocking system.