Coronavirus impacting local economy

Local businesses are struggling to maintain their normal operations with the new government guidelines and experts say...

Posted: Mar 16, 2020 6:37 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo) Businesses around the country are having to adapt to a new social reality. 

The spreading coronavirus is forcing government agencies to advise the public to practice social distancing and avoid crowds larger than 10 people. 

Local businesses are struggling to maintain their normal operations with the new government guidelines and experts say, "it's likely to get worse before it gets better," said Patt Lilly, President of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce. 

One local restaurant, Gina's Cafe & Catering, has decided to be take-out only. 

The owner's decision to close the restaurant's dining room doors is resulting in some public backlash, but the owner says it's better to be safe than sorry. 

“I’ve had a little bit of eye rolling. People think that I’m overreacting, but only time will tell if I’ve been too cautious. But I’d rather err on the side of caution than to look back and think ‘Gosh, why didn’t I do something sooner,”said Regina Calderwood. 

The owner says the empty tables will remain empty until some direction is given to local businesses on how they should operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lack of government guidance is leaving business owners feeling alone. T

“Honestly, I think that’s been the most frustrating thing for business owners in general is we just feel like we haven’t had good direction or immediate direction or even really for sure direction. There’s a lot of misinformation out there and just feeling like we aren’t really sure what we’re supposed to be doing,”said Calderwood.

The long term financial ramifications of the coronavirus "are very serious," said Lilly, but unfortunately, there is "no way to know how long it will take our economy to recover." 

Saint Joseph
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A cool forecast is in store for northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas this week. Fall-like weather will usher into the area Monday with highs mainly in the 60s and no hazardous weather expected through the week. The area could see its first frost Friday morning as the lows drop into the low-to-mid 30s.
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