As I sit down to write these last couple of pages for the May 2020 issue of Recreation Management (it's April 29 today), there are a lot of question marks. Some of them will likely be answered before the next time I write an editor's letter, but I suspect the vast majority of them are longer-term.
At the moment, some states are just starting to open things back up again. Some are doing it very carefully; others less so. These first states to call off their sheltering-at-home measures will begin to answer some of our questions, the biggest one being, what will happen? Will more people get sick? What impact will their experiences have as other states start to loosen restrictions? And how will states adapt if that happens?
The picture will look very different, depending on where you are. When will kids be back at school? For many of us, not for the rest of this school year. When will playgrounds be able to reopen? What about ballfields and basketball courts? What will college campuses look like in the fall?
On a smaller scale, everyone who manages a recreation, sports or fitness facility is wrestling with similar questions. What will happen when you open your doors again? How will you encourage people to be active and engage in sports and recreation while maintaining the healthiest environment possible? Will people be safe? What can we do to ensure that our patrons are as protected as possible from possible contagion?
And of course, a big question mark: What if we have to close again? Are we prepared for that? Can our facilities take that hit?
At the moment, the next year-plus is full of questions, and rather short on answers. But we know the value of recreation, sports and fitness to the community. We know how important these facilities are for engaging people with one another, for improving their wellness, for giving them healthy outlets to socialize and recreate.
We might be entering a whole new normal, but our questions, eventually, will have answers, and we'll move forward with all-new knowledge and best practices that promote everyone's health, happiness and success.