As Joni Mitchell famously sang "you don't know what you've got till it's gone" and I'm pretty sure right now people are acutely missing the joys of social gatherings in pubs, bars, restaurants and events. As the lock down continues, there will undoubtedly be a pent up demand to re-connect with friends and relatives once the government advice makes it clear this is safe. 

This pent up demand will likely see an immediate boost of leisure spending, which hopefully coincides with improving weather. Leisure industry operators that survive will need to be open, ready and stocked up to take advantage of this initial bounce.

Unfortunately the ability for consumer spending to continue after this initial bounce and return to pre-Covid-19 levels is uncertain. Personal finances will have been hit hard in the same way as company balance sheets. Furlough is incredibly helpful but for many it still represents a pay cut. Overall uncertainty about a second wave of infections will also weigh on people's minds. 

All this points to operators needing to challenge themselves on the size and shape of estate they want when emerging from this crisis and also making sure they have enough flexibility in their cost base (turnover rents?) to enable them to absorb the likely volatility in demand of the post-crisis world. Now is the time to take bold decisions.

However, if operators can successfully navigate this ,the rewards could be significant with competition reduced and potentially lower property costs to improve the bottom-line. We would also expect private equity to be waiting in the wings to provide capital to the leading businesses that have survived this Darwinian moment.