That is about the best way to describe it.
As I write this, my first column under lockdown, there is an eerie silence.
The usual sound of a community going about its business – a cross between a drone and a hum – is absent. But around the house, nature is "getting on with it" and, apart from the absence of evidence of human activity in town, it all looks as it did a week ago.
This is why the whole thing is a bit difficult to compute at the moment and I am left wondering what will replace the surreal as we progress into days 20 and beyond. Today is day 5.
For me, I have found the first few days strange, to say the least but, for the most part, I am happy in our bubble.
• Premium - Russell Bell: How to maintain your edge in a competitive market
• Russell Bell: Correct strategy leads to growth
• Russell Bell: Virus-fuelled recession likely only short term
• Russell Bell: What comes first: customers or staff?
The ability to work remotely means a level of work can continue – albeit without the level of human contact to which we are usually accustomed.
The investment in high-speed broadband over the past 10 years an absolute godsend – even if much of the bandwidth is taken up by Fortnite and Netflix.
However, for a lot of businesses – particularly those that rely on products and "non-essential" services, this is a period of enforced downtime.
If you need to visit your GP during lockdown
The speed with which the narrative from the Government changed and how quickly we went from minor change to level 4 lockdown is a demonstration of how situations can develop in dynamic ways and also how quickly a material challenge to your business can grow seemingly out of what appears to be a benign state.
We went very quickly, in planning terms, from preparation to managing a considerable event in days.
For some, this may not have been enough time to prepare and for others (and I'm not talking about doomsday preppers here) a level of preparation may have meant the impact could have been lessened.
The components of business continuity planning are:
•Risk identification and reduction
•Response and action
The key now is to realise that the next three weeks offer time to analyse the situation and commence planning for recovery.
The challenge is that there remains significant uncertainty – even of whether four weeks of lockdown will be enough to curb the community transmission of covid-19.
So, we need to make assumptions in terms of our response and, as I wrote last week, undertake work centred around the things you can control (even from your bubble).
Many of the calls I have taken over the past week have been about just that – there are a number of businesses that just have to wait out this time.
There are others that have some functions still running and others that are experiencing higher demand and activity in these unique times.
The interesting thing is that the message for all of those I have talked to is the same variation on the theme of responding to the current state and planning for recovery and resumption.
This week I am working with Whanganui and Partners and CEDA to present webinars around this topic.
What started as a seminar on Business Continuity Planning has seen more changes over the past week than any other project I can remember – but the important thing for me will be to provide assistance to others where I can.
If you want to talk about how you are managing your business through this situation and risk in general, I'm here to help or can point you in the direction of someone who can. 021 244 2421 is the number – you don't have to be a client or even be based in Whanganui and, so long as it is not a lengthy call, there is no charge.