I’ve been on the phone for the last couple of days asking folks about the Coronavirus. In particular, I wanted to determine their willingness to participate in some of the events that going on with some of the nonprofits with whom I work, as well as some a few upcoming business networking events.

At least here in Southern California, everything is apparently a go in my world, but that’s not the case for most of the organizations that I know. A lot of events got canceled, disappointing a lot of people who then postponed, if not outright nix, their travel plans. We’re in a really heightened state of anxiety.

That’s all understandable to a point, but here’s the impending fallout. Many folks will find themselves out of a good chunk of money because insurance policies and cancellation policies won’t cover the entire bill. A great deal of animosity will start to develop that will spill over into social media and news articles, putting organizations in a tough spot. Crisis PR response plans to these scenarios must get developed and now.

Corporate communicators and their consultants will need to think of a wide range of scenarios that could arise from this pandemic. Risk managers and insurance advisors can help there. Think about all possible outcomes and start to develop communication strategies to convey information to employees, customers, partners, investors, and other stakeholders. They need to understand if your firm maintains contingency plans to allow operations to continue as normal as possible.

The coronavirus pandemic could bring about significant, long term ramifications, because no one really knows the extent of the Coronavirus’s spread. The fear of the unknown is driving a lot of anxiety. So companies really need to start planning now on how to communicate their response to this and the subsequent scenarios that will arise as a result.