Blog/ COVID-19

Downtime Guide - The Four Phases of Covid-19

Although the world is going through an unprecedented event that's filled with uncertainty, it remains extremely important to manage things you can control. Taking a positive perspective and viewing this situation as an opportunity will help shape how you, your team and your venue responds and performs. 


 “It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters” (Epictetus)


To do this effectively, it is important to understand the current and potential future landscape of what is unfolding. At ROLLER, we have been busily reading widespread research and publications from around the world on the impact and likely progression of the Covid-19 pandemic. We would like to share our thoughts and suggestions on what to expect and what you should be doing to maximise opportunities and implement successful strategies for your entertainment and leisure venue.

The Four Phases of Covid-19

Much has been documented about the different phases the world will need to navigate as it progresses through and emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst we are aware that each region, and in fact each country, may experience different timelines due to the natural progression and subsequent governmental reaction of Covid-19 in your area, we expect that all regions will follow a similar four phased pattern. 




Phase 1 - Reaction

During the reaction phase, governments outlined their response and plan to combat Covid-19, and as a result many businesses were required to close their doors in order to protect their communities and abide by local guidelines. The entertainment and leisure industry responded quickly, communicating updates online with their customers, decreasing their costs, and applying for support schemes to assist them through this period.  

What to expect? 

This phase was dynamic and fast-paced, led by local governments and changed from day to day based on the ongoing response measures. Whilst the majority of businesses have passed through this initial phase already, our recommendations are applicable when undertaking any crisis management now or in the future, and are good to remember throughout this period.  

What you should be doing? 

  • Provide calm and clear leadership for your team, ensuring you are communicating with not just staff but also business partners.
  • Halt any unnecessary costs, understand your inventory stock levels and your overall cash position.
  • Research and apply for government support scheme/s. 
  • Use your website, social media and ROLLER Checkouts to communicate with your customers.  
  • Prepare for the resilience phase.


Phase 2 - Resilience 

For most businesses and individuals, this phase is predominantly shaped by government advice and subsequent measures to manage social distancing; 

  • The majority of leisure and entertainment businesses are closed or working in a limited capacity based on government restrictions (eg. take away food only).
  • All non-essential workers are working from home, with the vast majority of the public being governed by social isolation guidelines to stay at home.  

The resilience phase consists of a lot of downtime, which either has or will become the temporary ‘new normal’ for you, your team and your customers. During this phase there will be ongoing updates from the government to the public and businesses on the status of the plans outlined in the reaction phase. They will also provide guidance as to when any restrictions will be eased, what new operating measures or rules may look like, and when a return to trade can begin again. 

What to expect? 

This phase is predicted to go on for between 4-to-12 plus weeks depending on the impact that Covid-19 is having on your region and how effective the plan is that your government has implemented to address it. This time is very valuable and should be used as productively as possible to improve your business and put you in a position of strength in order to secure a successful reopening. 

What you should be doing? 

  • Weather the storm and prepare your team to do the same. Continue to communicate with your staff to keep them abreast of any new information that will benefit them and your business.
  • Closely manage costs and monitor any applications to government support schemes (if applicable). 
  • Pursue new opportunities and innovative initiatives where you can (e.g. working with local providers, selling stock).
  • Use this time productively to improve your business by working to optimise your ROLLER Platform.
  • Develop and implement a customer engagement plan.
  • Keep engaging with your customer base through your website and social media channels. 
  • Prepare your business for recovery/reopening. 

Phase 3 - Recovery/Reopening

The recovery phase begins when businesses reopen. Many regions have not yet hit this phase, however, we can take some guidance from leisure and entertainment venues based in countries across Asia who have recently begun to reopen. 

During this phase, regional governments will start to relax restrictions surrounding movement of people and business trading. It is expected that upon reopening service based industries, including leisure and entertainment venues, will have to implement some changes to actively adhere to ‘new normal’ regulations and provide a safe environment for their guests and team.

It is expected that governments will implement regulations that cover;

  • Social distancing.
  • Capacity control/limitations at venues.
  • Increased hygiene requirements (eg. Perspex screens on POS, less cash handling).
  • PPE for staff & guests. 
  • New operational processes.

What to expect? 

It may take several months for restrictions to be eased in order for businesses to progress from reopening towards the ‘new normal’ phase. And although the business landscape may have changed, it presents an opportunity for you and your venue to embrace it and effectively change with it.

In addition to the changes in government regulations, there may also be broader changes in your guests’ general expectations and behaviors.

We expect leisure and entertainment consumer behaviours to change in a number of ways;

  • There will be a shift in what makes a ‘great guest experience’. Safety will become a core component of the overall experience.
  • Increased expectations; with lower customer leisure spending budgets during a recession, customers will hold higher expectations for any experiences that they do purchase, further increasing the stakes to provide the best guest experience possible. 
  • Increased preference for online purchasing. Customers will want to reduce their time in queues and venues will want to minimize customer wait times in them. Hence, pre-booking via online will become the norm, with some businesses potentially mandating this in order to effectively reduce human to human interactions.

What you should be doing? 

Prepare, communicate and execute! Following your resilience during the downtime period, your business is in a good position to action what is required. Devise your ‘to-do’ list with your team and get going. Your ability to speedily action what is required could put you ahead of your competition. Make sure to effectively communicate to your loyal customers what you have done to create a safe environment for them.

Other things you should be doing;

  • Outline a trading plan that focuses on recovery and a reset of the business.
  • Organise required onsite changes to align to the ‘new normal’ government requirements (eg. social distancing).
  • Continue strong financial discipline.
  • Stay abreast of industry best practice and trends.
  • Create new offerings and innovate where possible. 
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate - with customers, staff and partners.
  • Prepare and invest for a long-term ‘new normal’.

Phase 4 - ‘New Normal’

The transition to a ‘new normal’ refers to when highly restrictive measures have been relaxed for a sustained period and the current landscape of lesser restrictions continue in an ongoing fashion viewed as the new normal by society.

This ‘new normal’ phase is the reality of how businesses and communities may operate in the future, and in all likelihood until a vaccine for Covid-19 becomes available. Whilst this is currently predicted to be 12-18 months away, there is light at the end of the tunnel and your business will still be able to thrive in the meantime by putting the right steps in place. As consumers react, respond and recover to the phases experienced in their own personal lives, they too will put in place plans for how they would like to spend their time and money as normalcy returns. This will be a time for leisure and entertainment venues to prosper and flourish, as consumers appreciate the service you offer them more than ever before. Just like your customers, we can’t wait for this moment to happen! 

What to expect? 

This phase will likely be ongoing and will follow a similar framework as to what is outlined in the recovery/reopening phase, with further relaxations on the level of the operating requirements ( distancing measures will decrease & capacity numbers will increase).

There will likely be some shifts in trends and consumer preferences, with consumers having a clear, longer term expectation of processes and operations geared towards their safety. Prepare to embrace the changes you’ve already made and know that you are well equipped to not just handle the new normal, but succeed in it! 

What you should be doing? 

  • Continue to align with government regulations.
  • Listen to the feedback of your customers.
  • Be clear on what you need to stop, and on what you need to double down on to benefit from the shift.
  • Be ready for an influx of customers with a pent up demand for leisure and entertainment activities outside of the home!


We will continue to stay abreast of the latest research and information, customer expectations and industry best practices so that we can provide insights and recommendations for how you can adapt, respond and succeed with ROLLER throughout the Covid-19 phases.

With technology playing a key role in the capability of businesses to stay agile and best manage unprecedented situations, both now and in a longer term ‘new normal’, we want you to know that we will be here every step of the way!

We will get through this as an industry and we are extremely excited to be closer now to a new normal, ready to thrive again together.

Get in touch if you need assistance

If you require any assistance actioning any ideas or initiatives please contact our ROLLER support team via logging a support ticket - Contacting ROLLER Support 

Other Covid-19 materials

Research and publications