Recently it was announced that Albany's City Beer Hall has temporarily closed due to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. The world has been changing since February and the future is unclear. On March 13th, when my son's school sent everyone home never to return, I told him "the world will never be exactly the same as it was yesterday". I didn't know what would truly mean and I still don't.

City Beer Hall and several other establishments throughout the Capital Region are faced with heartbreaking decisions every day. Do we close? Can we afford to close? Can we afford to stay open? I am in no position to have the answers to these questions and business owners have to make the decisions that they feel are best for their employees, customers and for themselves. Tough choices for sure.

What will the result of these choices leave us with? As the American Poet Edwin Markham once said "Choices are the hinges of destiny". Each decision will shape what tomorrow will look like. This isn't just the restaurant industry. It's everything. Here are some of my observations as I ask, what will tomorrow look like?

  • Concert tickets - Paper tickets were being phased out anyway but you will probably never hold an actual concert ticket, movie ticket, etc. again.
  • Department Store Makeup Counters - "Tester" products have already been removed and it would seem that the one on one, up close and personal makeup application counters would go with them.
  • The Office - Late night's at the office, heck anytime spent in an office, may be over for a large number of employees and the companies they work for. Many have realized that the work can be done from home.
  • Food Samples - A trip to Sam's Club or any market was made better with the free food samples but are you willing to stab a Swedish meatball with a grocery store toothpick ever again?
  • Handshakes and Hugs - At one time a handshake was a symbol of commitment, a connection and a bond. Business deals and friendships have been formed with a strong handshake. Will we ever feel confident to offer handshakes and hugs again?
  • Water Fountains - Nothing like that refreshing gulp of someone else's saliva and nose debris. Already gone as far as I am concerned.
  • Cash - It appears that we have been rapidly moving toward a cashless society and the pandemic may make it a certainty.

I am hopeful, if not confident, that City Beer Hall in Albany will re-open to great success. I look forward to a safer tomorrow. I just wish I knew what it will look like.



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