The dust from the 2020 Presidential election is starting to settle, however we are far from having a clear picture. Uncertainty has continued to afflict 2020 as the election results have been contested, recounts will happen in multiple states, and several house and senate seats are still undecided. The remainder of the year will be complicated by rising COVID-19 cases and the potentially tumultuous holiday sales for the retail and restaurant industries. This has been offset somewhat by news of a potentially viable vaccine, but questions of time and availability remain.

States have not been certified as of now, but it appears that a new administration will take office in January. A Biden led White House would bring several changes we have outlined before and there will be more aspects of his plan to outline in the coming months. He has already named new members of a COVID-19 task force and early comments indicate that a pandemic recovery plan is at the top of the agenda. A nationwide mask mandate could be instituted and nationwide changes to business operations would become a factor if virus cases worsen over the winter. There could also be changes made from the current Trump administration as we get closer to what is considered a new wave of the virus.

The uncertainty over the elections was reflected in the stock market, but those numbers have been buoyed by recent news of the Coronavirus vaccine. While the news is good, there has been no concrete date for arrival and distribution plans would still need to be put in place. The vaccine will likely not arrive in time to impact holiday shopping and dining; companies will have to turn to more short-term solutions to weather the storm. Online shopping and digital food ordering will be at the forefront this season as every company looks to get the most out of a typically lucrative spending window.

A potential boon to the restaurant and retail industry could be coming in the form of another stimulus. Talks will likely resume now that the election has concluded, but the outstanding senate and house races could muddy the waters. It is possible that a new bill will avoid some of the mistakes from earlier this year and will be more widely available. Another positive note for businesses is that both new and incumbent lawmakers campaigned on issues related to COVID-19 relief and we are likely to see new legislation aiding those most critically impacted.

The rhetoric and contention surrounding the election will eventually be put behind us and there will be both fresh and old faces on Capitol Hill. 2020 has been an unprecedented year and the election indicates that 2021 will continue the trend. Hopefully the new year will be an unprecedented period of recovery for the U.S. and it will take a combined effort to achieve. The potential of a vaccine and innovation in the retail and restaurant sector provide reason for hope. While the election has left us with many questions, each answer could change the future.