Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Leahy was joined in studio by all-star panelist Crom Carmichael.
During the second hour, Carmichael reflected upon the new federal guideline rollout and the coronavirus’s lengthy impact on the restaurant, hotel and airline industries. He predicted that May 1 the economy will begin a slow reopening citing New York’s insistence that citizens wear face masks in public as evidence.
Leahy: We are joined by our good friend and the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael. Good morning Crom.
Carmichael: Good morning Michael. How are you, sir?
Leahy: It’s two weeks and three days until I declare an open studio. (Laughs)
Carmichael: Well good. I think it will be open by then.
Leahy: Asterisk. We’ve got to get the clearance from iHeart Media. We haven’t even had that conversation yet. But that is an aspirational goal. So if all works and we get the sign-off, two weeks and three days from today Crom, you’ll be in studio here. We have the official WLAC hazmat suit. (Chuckles)
Carmichael: Ok. Alright.
Leahy: WLAC logos. We’ll give you an N-95 mask. (Chuckles) And gloves.
Carmichael: Alright. I’ll have to get up earlier for that (Laughs) than I do to call in.
Leahy: We’ll have a special fitting of the hazmat suit for you Crom.
Carmichael: Oh good.
Leahy: The only caveat is that typically I’m looking at the distance here from your special guest seat in the studio. And it’s about three and a half feet, four feet from me. I don’t know, it’s going to be two feet closer. Although we could stretch it out. Maybe we’ll take a picture of this Crom. We’ll take the microphones and move everything back and stretch it to about six feet.
Carmichael: I think those microphones will stretch another two feet.
Leahy: I think so. I think so. So we’ll be completely compliant. So that will be kind of interesting. Did you workout yesterday while you were watching the president’s press conference announcing the reopening of America.
Carmichael: I actually was out of the house and forgot to record. So I have done some research so that I understand what phase one, phase two, and phase three is.
Leahy: Could you perhaps enlighten us?
Carmichael: It’s really going to be left up to the governors. And these are federal guidelines. And the guidelines don’t necessarily have to be followed. Although Trump has made it clear that if states abuse the process that he has the authority to step in and enforce the guidelines.
So for example, let’s say that New York and California decide to shut down their airports or do something that really hurts the rest of the country. He would step in and do something about that. But my guess is that folks in New York and California are anxious to get out of their homes and back to work. So I think I heard that Cuomo is requiring people in public to have to wear a mask.
Leahy: That is correct. I saw him say that yesterday.
Carmichael: So that indicates to me that May 1 there is going to be some loosening of the situation in New York and in all the states. There will be some loosening and it is my hope that people wear masks. Now the one thing we can be pretty certain of is that in the foreseeable future there isn’t going to be any big gatherings. The idea that Major League Baseball playing there games in Arizona without crowds. If there is to be Major League Baseball this year, that’s what they’ll do.
Leahy: I hope they do it. I haven’t seen anything on that particular topic Crom since the first report came out a couple of weeks ago from sources in ESPN. I read that and I said, “Boy I hope this is true.”
Carmichael: And there won’t be any golf. There won’t be any horse racing. And when you think of all the different things that people attend in large groups there won’t be any conferences. The country will not be operating near all cylinders. My guess is that in April the country is operating at maybe 30% and that’s because of the food industry and the healthcare industry.
Then the banking industry is processing a lot of financial stuff. And then governments are working. So we’re probably operating at 30%-35%. I think in May that percentage will go up to about 60%-70%. But I think it will be a long time before it passes 80% because all of the big crowd deals which include airlines won’t be back to near normal for along time.
Leahy: A very long time.
Carmichael: Hotels, conferences, restaurants, and cruise lines. Those industries make up at least 20% of the country.
Leahy: We look at this and as you know Crom we have this Constitution Bee that we do out of our Star News Education Foundation. It was going to be held in Washington, D.C. in June. Our first one was going to be held in April in Oakland County, Michigan. Ok? Actually it was scheduled to be held tomorrow in Oakland County, Michigan, which is one of the five counties in Michigan where they are having this big outbreak. So obviously we made a good choice not to go there.
Carmichael: Yes. Now, will it be virtual?
Leahy: No this is going to have to be an in-person thing. We’re not doing it at all that way. We’ve rescheduled it and we’re on track now. This is our plan. We haven’t formalized it yet. but we’ve moved our reservations for the National Championship in Washington to October 17. Here’s what we’re thinking of doing.
We are thinking of having instead of these state competitions in the first week of October and last week of Septemeber we’re thinking of having five regional contests. One here in Tennessee. One actually in Michigan. One in North Carolina. One in Minnesota.
The last one we’re thinking of calling up the hotel owners and the airplanes in Las Vegas and saying, “Hey how would you like to have a regional Constitution Bee in Las Vegas?” We’re thinking maybe by that time they might be interested in doing that because they want to have folks coming back. That’s what we’re thinking about.
Carmichael: Once again it depends on the size of your crowd and how much you can spread them out.
Carmichael: It’s going to be a crowd. The crowd issue is going to be with us for at least a number of months. And that includes restaurants.
Leahy: So you make a very good point Crom. This is something that we’re thinking about. You could have a crowd of people maybe six feet apart wearing masks and the whole deal. We are trying to figure out how we could do that in person. Because the crowds aren’t that big. Maybe 100 people all totaled. So we are thinking about doing that. We will keep you posted on that.
Carmichael: Well good.
Leahy: This kind of thing, restaurants, in particular, are going to try to figure out.
Carmichael: Well yes. I think there will be some creative solutions. But the restaurant industry is going to have a very tough time coming back simply because their venues are part of the attraction for the customers. They’ll have to be operating at 50% or 60% of capacity.
Leahy: And you can’t really make money in most restaurants at 50%-60% capacity.
Carmichael: Correct. Same thing with the airline and hotel industries which are very similar. You have to be above some level and probably in the airline industry you have to be above 80% capacity. And you have to have all your planes in the air. The airline industry is going to be a long time coming back. I think this is worse than 9-11.
Leahy: Oh yeah.
Carmichael: After 9-11 it took the airline industry over a year to get their numbers back up. It took them like four or five years to get their prices back up.
Leahy: So you could make an argument that if you want to get the country rolling back again probably three industries that would need some kind of government subsidy I would think to get up and running for that period of time where they’re below break even. That would be restaurants, airlines, and hotels.
Carmichael: Yes. Then you have a whole bunch of industries that are also impacted that are large gatherings. Like conferences, of course, that effects hotels. You have conference centers. You have concerts. The music industry in Nashville is going to be hit pretty hard because concerts are how musicians make their money now off of touring. So concerts won’t happen. Events won’t happen. Horseracing won’t happen. Professional tennis tournaments won’t happen. And it could very well be that the college football season is pushed a few months. That’s possible.
Leahy: We’ll see.
Carmichael: We’ll have to wait and see.
Listen to the second hour here:
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