Price discusses economic impact of coronavirus shutdown
By Shane Duncan Staff Writer
The Daily Post-Athenian
As more of the economy continues to be shutdown, the McMinn County Economic Development Authority (EDA) has
put together a resource catalogue to help businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has led many local businesses to scale back or close as a result of recommendations from Gov. Bill Lee and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to EDA Executive Director Kathy Price, the impact the virus has had on the business community varies.
“I think it depends on the different industries and businesses,” said Price. “For the majority, it is affecting our small
business, it’s affecting our automotive industry ... I think widespread we are seeing a lot of effects from the COVID-19, but we do have some that are business as usual.”
The businesses that have been most impacted by the virus have been service industries, according to Price.
“We typically have a lot of independently owned ‘mom and pop’ type restaurants and boutiques and those are getting
hit very hard,” said Price. “A lot of them have had to change their business model to take out, carry out and delivery
type options. Those are the ones that are being hurt the most.” Employees at those businesses are being hurt by the economic shutdown as well, she said. “Some employees from those organizations, like servers, are working for tips for the most part and having to support their families, so I am most concerned for those employees and businesses that are independently owned,” she explained.
She noted that the full scale of the impact the closing of businesses has had until the unemployment numbers for
March are released. “I think the effects of this have yet to be seen but we will know about it when the unemployment numbers release,” said Price. “My prayer is that the virus is short lived and that we can recover fast from this, but that just really depends on how long it goes on and how quick our recovery is going to be.”
The EDA has made resource guides available to help businesses and employees who have been affected by the
pandemic. “You can go to our website at makeitinmcminn.org and on the front page we now have a tab, you will see it in the bottom left corner, there will be a little highlighted yellow area that when clicked will take you to the resources we have been publishing on social media,” said Price. “We have also been sending them out directly to businesses in
partnership with the (Athens Area) Chamber of Commerce and some of our other partners.”