Lackawanna County entered the “yellow” phase on Friday June 5th. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t 100% sure what any of it meant except that I can eat at restaurants as long as they have outdoor seating and I’m still not able to get a haircut. Fortunately, I was able to get a haircut two weeks ago thanks to a friend who took care of it for me without breaking any rules. However, I was still very ready to go out for my first meal at a restaurant in almost three months.
After the strong jobs report and subsequent market rally on Friday, there was no better way to celebrate than my first meal at one of my favorite restaurants. We went to Cusumano in Old Forge and it did not disappoint. The staff was happy to see everyone and the patrons were so excited to be out. It was very encouraging to get a little pulse check on the consumer. There was not an empty seat in the place. A woman made a toast to the whole restaurant. People were smiling and everyone had the same sense of gratitude to be experiencing some semblance of normal life. I also overheard many people expressing their relief for not having to clean up after dinner. We were certainly able to relate to all of it.
Saturday was a sunny day and we decided to go for one more outdoor meal. We took a ride to Lake Wallenpaupack and had a late lunch. Same vibe there. People were out and very happy to be out. There were many people gathered in the lawn near the lake enjoying the weather and some live music at a social distance. Another great experience outside of our house.
I woke up today with no temperature, no cough and no shortness of breath thank God. I kept my distance from people, wore a mask when appropriate and washed my hands frequently. If we can all do that, maybe it won’t be so bad. I’m still going to proceed with caution, but plan on doing my best to keep pushing forward towards normalcy. This weekend gave me some confidence that the consumer is still alive and well. That will hopefully bode well for the economy. I’ve also taken some confidence in the economic outlook from conversations with friends and clients who are talking about home improvement projects and other expenditures that contribute to the economy.
There is still a long road ahead. New York City, the epicenter of the virus spread in the US, is beginning the reopening process today. If that doesn’t go well or cases continue to increase in other states, that can definitely create some additional challenges. Based on all of the bad news that the market has shrugged off, maybe it has been expecting weekends like the one I just had. We’ll see how it unfolds. In the meantime, enjoy your transition from quarantine and stay safe.