There was a bit of quiet before the Delta variant stormed, a few months when people ditched masks, filled stadiums and mingled with friends for indoor dining and shopping. Offices nationwide started planning September back-to-the-office dates to align with back-to-school. Life was heading back toward pre-pandemic normal.
And then people started getting sick again, with hospitals strained to capacity in some states and Delta making headlines as being more contagious than its COVID-19 sibling. Now, the Great Reopening is on hold and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is huddling with infectious disease experts, political leaders, and other pundits to devise a new strategy.
The swift spike in new cases across the country has triggered a quick response from event organizers and office executives — cancellations. Most office doors will remain closed beyond the planned September or October reopening dates. Many are leaving the date blank, figuring it will be sometime in 2022, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday (Aug. 9).
The New York auto show is off, Nashville’s 3686 Festival for startups and backers, is canceled and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is rescheduled for mid-October, per WSJ. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is now set for the spring of 2022 after being canceled a few times.
JPMorgan Chase is keeping its reopening schedule in place but indicated in a staff memo that there is now a mask mandate, per WSJ. Other firms are opting to wait it out and continue remote work until it makes sense to reopen.
“I don’t want to make any predictions,” Mattress Firm CEO John Eck told the WSJ. “Where we’re at now would indicate it’s going to be later than sooner.”
The Delta variant is fast-moving — the 7-day average of new cases in June was 13,500; by Aug. 3, it was 92,000, per Scienemag.org and multiple news accounts. According to a leaked internal CDC document on July 29, the Delta variant might make people sicker.