Drivers who use GPS navigation are likely familiar with the term “recalculating.”
The word gained some wider use in recent years. Now it could become a byword of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just about everyone is recalculating as the social and economic ground shifts beneath us moment by moment. Few aspects of the world we knew in January remained unchanged by April. If there is any certainty at present, it’s that more changes are yet ahead.
But Ketchikan does have some clarity about the 2020 cruise ship season.
By March it was clear that the 2020 season would not be bringing the anticipated 1.3 million passengers to Ketchikan.
Canada closed its ports to cruise ships until at least July 1, and the Port of Seattle followed with indefinite closure. Early July appeared to be the earliest possible start.
Then the Centers for Disease Control extended its no-sail order for cruise ships with a potential for the order to continue for 100 days from this past Wednesday when the order was published in the Federal Register.
Responding quickly, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line announced this week that they were canceling 11 of the combined 15 ships out of the Alaska market in 2020. Norwegian Cruise Lines has canceled all Alaska sailings of its Norwegian Sun ship, potentially leaving three NCL ships sailing Alaska if and when the 2020 season starts. The other lines — including Royal Caribbean and Celebrity — have yet to make announcements regarding their post-July Alaska plans.
Clearly, the 2020 cruise ship season won’t be anything like we’d planned for. That fact, taken with the general COVID-19 economic slowdown, is prompting a whole lot of recalculation in Ketchikan.
In addition to individuals and businesses, local governments are starting to look ahead to figure out prudent options for dealing with a revenue crunch.
Like most everyone else in Ketchikan, our elected officials and local government administrators likely never dreamed of having to deal with something of this magnitude on such short notice. We wish for them deep reserves of wisdom, patience and energy. Empathetic leadership would be a plus, too.
Like often occurs in a vehicle, Ketchikan is not on a road we’d intended to take. We’re now recalculating — without a full set of maps yet with enough information that the general direction we need to travel is evident. This won’t be easy, but we’re on our way.