Coronavirus impacts on local economy ‘unknown,’ officials say

MEDFORD, Ore. — What impacts will coronavirus have on our local economy?

The short answer is we don’t know.

President and CEO of the Medford Chamber of Commerce, Brad Hicks, says it’s a situation he’s never seen before.

Right now, Hicks says the unemployment rate in Medford and Jackson County is at an all-time low. That means people who want to work have jobs and there are still jobs available.

But he says the question on everyone’s minds is if that will change in the coming weeks and what the economic impacts will look like locally?

“Filling up our gas tanks, getting a cup of coffee, going to dinner, recreating, going to local wineries etc.,” said Hicks. “Even if that slows down by a small percentage, it all adds up.”

Hicks says many businesses like local shopping and dining could take a hit, especially companies that are not used to employees working remotely.

The chamber is also collecting data on event cancellations, so if the federal government considers compensating small businesses impacted, the chamber has data to back that up.

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