There’s a limit to what the government can do. The Fed can lower rates to zero and the government can bail out industries, but what about the millions of small business owners who suddenly have no customers?
70% of our economy is consumer spending.
Comparisons are being drawn to the economic shock of 9/11, the Great Recession, and the Great Depression
A week ago, Mark Canlis’s restaurant in Seattle was offering a $135 tasting menu to a bustling dining room every night. Eileen Hornor’s inn on the Maine coast was booking rooms for the busy spring graduation season. And Kalena Masching, a real estate agent in California, was fielding multiple offers on a $1.2 million home.
Then the coronavirus outbreak changed everything.
Today, Mr. Canlis’s restaurant is preparing to become a drive-through operation serving burgers. Ms. Hornor is bleeding cash as she refunds deposits for scores of canceled reservations. And Ms. Masching is scrambling to save her sale after one offer after another fell through.
“Last week, I would have told you nothing had changed,” she said. “This week, it has all gone to hell.”
For weeks, forecasters have warned of the coronavirus’s potential to disrupt the American economy. But there was little hard evidence beyond delayed shipments of goods from China and stomach-churning volatility in financial markets.
Now the effects are showing up in downtown nightspots and suburban shopping centers from coast to coast.