“They (NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB …) want to get back. They’ve got to get back. We want to get back soon, very soon. We have to re-open our country again.” — President Donald Trump after a Saturday conference call with the major sport commissioners

The “easy” part was declaring a State of Emergency, and shutting down America.

The decision was difficult, but once made it was relatively easy to implement

At some point — not now — comes the hard part: Re-opening the stadiums, arenas, music halls, stock exchanges, restaurants, stores, businesses, corporations …

What? When? Where? Who? Why? and most of all, How?

How are we going to re-open America?

Will we simply lift the State of Emergency, and pick up where we left off? Don’t think so.

Will we wait until everyone is tested for COVID-19 antibodies?

Will we hang on until everyone has been vaccinated? 2021? 2022? …

How will we demand proof of vaccine or antibody testing without violating federal health privacy guidelines (e.g., HIPAA), and personal liberties?

Will we continue to quarantine the high-risk population, Baby Boomers and older?

Will the ‘All-Clear’ signal be given to X-Gens, Millennials and younger?

How does that square with equal protection guidelines of the 14th Amendment?

What criteria will we use? Can we accept that unanimity is impossible; there will always be those who disagree (particularly those with political agendas in an election year)?

Will there ever be an absolute “coast is clear” signal? You can be absolutely sure that opinions will vary, count on it.

And there will be attorneys too, in particular for this Almost DailyBrett author: Plaintiff attorneys … tan, rested and ready to sue anyone and everyone with deep pockets (e.g., NFL franchises).

The Complex PR Puzzle Facing Re-Opening Decisions

No matter how many public officials are consulted. No matter how many health experts provide advice. No matter, no matter, no matter ... somebody has to be first to re-open the doors, the turn-styles, the restaurant tables for overpriced seared sea bass with risotto.

Let’s say we don’t re-open until 2021 (e.g., Tokyo Olympics, UEFA Euro 2021 … ), there still will be a line in the sand. People will no longer maintain six-foot buffer zones. Most likely they will no longer wear face masks, except for football players and hockey goalies.

Can college and NFL football players block and tackle each other? Otherwise, what is the point?

Can fans, patrons return to packed-in-as-sardine stadiums? What if they are scared (Will their tickets be refunded)? What if they actually go to the game, concert, restaurant, store, shop … and get sick? Will they sue? How many? And for how much will they litigate?

An NFL team has the legal muscle and deep pockets to defend itself, but what about a mid-range college athletic department?

Your author is not an attorney, but is there an assumed liability that comes with handing over your ticket with the QR code face up?

Almost DailyBrett contends strongly that public relations practitioners should urge not only communication, but over-communicating.

There will be an acute need for earned media (e.g., digital and conventional media interviews) employing team owners, university presidents, chief executive officers and of course, health experts.

Ditto for paid media (e.g., advertising) with strong messages about getting back to work, and going to the game … safely.

And most of all every organization will be required to launch owned media campaigns (e.g., websites, blog posts, social media, signage, PowerPoint presentations, brochures and takeaways).

The more people are informed about the calculated risks they may take in waiting for the first guitar riff or standing up for the kickoff … the better for them and for the resumption of our economy and our way of life.

Bill Gates was amazingly prescient about the threat of microbial pandemics in his now famous 2015 TED Talk, which served as the forerunner for the crisis of the ten-thousandth of a millimeter in diameter Corona Virus.

Considering the wonderful work of Bill and Melinda Gates, donating a record $50 billion to their namesake foundation for health and education and to combat third world poverty, maybe he could serve as a major thought leader in negotiating the hard part, getting us back to work, into the stadiums, and back on campus.

Didn’t someone piously state that billionaires should not exist?

Ahh … the subject of another Almost DailyBrett post.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28995399/sources-trump-says-nfl-start

https://www.gatesfoundation.org/who-we-are/general-information/foundation-factsheet