The outbreak of any virus can have an enormous impact on the economy. It’s something that most businesses have to worry about when such outbreaks occur. The World’s Health Organization made the decision on Thursday to declare the newest virus outbreak: “The Coronavirus”, an international public health emergency. This new virus could affect the economy.
Let’s take a look at some statistics about another virus that happened in 2003, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and the economic impact it had. The global economic loss from SARS came close to $40 billion in 2003. To be sure, economic growth rebounded quickly, from 2.9 percent to 4.4 percent from 2003 to 2004.
What’s going to happen this time?
Each pandemic is different, they’re all impacting our economy in different ways for each industry. Thus far, the situation is being controlled and here in Canada, we don’t need to worry as much for the economic impact, with only 4 confirmed cases in Ontario. (update on confirmed cases here.)
Will it affect my business?
Thus far, you don’t have to worry about your business being affected by the coronavirus. It’s important to stay alert without turning into panic mode. Try to stay as informed as possible about what’s going on since things can change quickly and always think safety first.
What should I do if this becomes serious?
Depending on what kind of business you have, it’s important to protect your employees. Things you can do to protect yourself and your staff to limit the chances of having bad outcomes if you’re working with the public is;
- Offer masks to your employees.
- Wash your hands
- Limit direct contact.
Finally, it’s important to understand that the Coronavirus is yes, a serious outbreak, but the economy here in Canada might not be affected as much as where it originally started in Wuhan, China due to geographical reasons. It’s not likely that businesses will have to close down here for safety purposes.
When it comes to how it could affect the economy, some of that economic loss cannot be recovered. Like PBS said in their article; If grocery stores are shuttered, food will go bad and businesses have to absorb the cost. But many other types of economic activity — like travel and purchases from factories — can be postponed rather than cancelled altogether. […] The wild card is if the virus is not contained quickly. Then the economic loss drags on, companies have to change their plans, which increases costs, and tourists are too afraid to travel for years rather than months.
What is important to do, for now, is wait to see what happens next. We should all stay alert, and aware. Read more about the economic impact here.