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Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Time to adapt, but please don't create new math

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Stephen Tyler and Chad Whitehead are looking to adapt their business as the Tower Theatre and adjoining Pony Boy bar and music venue lose business as entertainment venues shut down because of the coronavirus. On Monday they announced they will be live streaming performances and discussions with popular local artists. [The Oklahoman Archives]
Stephen Tyler and Chad Whitehead are looking to adapt their business as the Tower Theatre and adjoining Pony Boy bar and music venue lose business as entertainment venues shut down because of the coronavirus. On Monday they announced they will be live streaming performances and discussions with popular local artists. [The Oklahoman Archives]

What happens next?

That’s the question for so many of us, who have spent so much of our time and energy into creating a community that celebrates who we are and what we can accomplish together, can move on when we’re pretty much required to separate and stay at home.

Businesses have to quickly adapt. Some, including those we cherish most, won’t make it. But in times of crisis like this, history tells us we can emerge with something pretty amazing.

We are told William Shakespeare wrote some of his greatest works, including "King Lear," at a time when people were confined to their homes during the notorious bubonic plague. The Washington Post had a great story over the weekend about the self-isolation during the plague that led to Sir Issac Newton writing papers on an array of theories and formulas that included the foundation for what is now calculus.

He created new math. That’s just amazing.

This isn’t the plague, but comparisons to the 1918 Spanish Flu aren’t out of the question. And yeah, we’re also seeing some scary 1928-like chaos in our economy.

But we adapt. And that’s my focus in the next few weeks, to share stories about those who are adapting to keep our city moving forward and ready to flourish once again when this virus burns out.

Those I will be tracking closely will be the brilliant minds who brought the Tower Theatre back to life. How can such a beloved venue survive when crowds are no longer able to congregate? The heart of that operation has always been the creativity of its operators and they are no strangers to innovation and online streaming.

Operators Stephen Tyler and Chad Whitehead announced Monday they will be hosting live streaming performances and discussions with popular local artists each day at 8 p.m. (at least through this week).

We have creative folks in the restaurant industry as well. They will innovate and find a way to provide us with some much needed diversions while restricting or even eliminating human contact until the virus has run its course.

For now, we can still order out for meals and even drinks from our favorite coffee shops. Until this option is no longer available, and when deemed safe, give it a try.

I picked up a belated birthday dinner from my wife’s favorite restaurant, Othello’s in Edmond, on Sunday and it was still every bit as delicious as it would have been at the table (but without the giant candles and great old school ambiance).

Watch for retailers to find a way to continue online. Good grief, retail therapy is likely to enter the mix as this drags on.

I’m proud of the work that is being done at The Oklahoman to keep you informed. It’s a full-blown effort, vacations canceled, folks working on weekends and at night. Not all of the news is uplifting. I’ll be skewing my column in that direction however and hopefully not only survive, but maybe even emerge with the next "King Lear."

But please, please, don’t hit me up with any new math.

Steve Lackmeyer

Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's... Read more ›

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