Two-thirds of America’s restaurants are independent small businesses, that employ 11 million of the 15 million workers in this sector, most of whom are now unemployed. Beyond the financial, restaurants are central to culture and well-being. But over 78% of Americans say they would be uncomfortable eating at a restaurant. With very little direction on how to reopen and with space restrictions that make social distancing impossible, restaurants need creative and innovative solutions to survive, according to Rohini Dey.

Lodging contributes nearly $600 billion to U.S. GDP and supports over 1 in 25 jobs in America. Hotels have been hit really hard due to the pandemic, with over 80% of hotel rooms in America being empty. Low-rise resorts and hotels in non-urban areas, such as Montage Hotels, encourage social isolation compared to high-rise downtown hotels.

The US Travel Association released guidelines to ensure travelers’ safety and regain the trust needed for travel to resume. Hygiene and cleanliness are primary issues of consideration. Hotels like Marriott and Airbnb are updating their cleaning policies with technology like electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant and the home rental platform insisting on a 24-hour vacancy period between guest stays.

One of the lessons people learned from the Great Depression had to do with accepting strangers. Jim Sheridan shared that when he rode railroad boxcars to get around during the Depression, there would be 50 or 60 people in a car, discussing politics and sharing meals. How can public transportation be a means for relationship-building and dialogue?