What is the impact if the Masters Tournament is affected by the coronavirus?

Thursday, March 12, 2020
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Despite the Masters still continuing as planned, the local economy is picturing presumed lack of traffic for that week.

Some of the biggest questions right now are: will the Masters go on? If it does, what if it goes on without fans? How would the local economy be affected by the lack of traffic, crowd or the tournament?

"If those activities are not taking place, then it would be a direct hit to the city of Augusta," Jennifer Bowen of Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau said.

Local businesses aren't sure how much of a hit the city will take since the Masters hasn't been canceled since World War II.

"It does mean that local businesses have sometimes an extra month of revenue. It sometimes means that caterers get jobs that they wouldn't normally have," Bowen said.

The Aiken Economic Development Partnership says any changes in the course of the Masters would send a ripple effect into the community.

The Augusta CVB says there is already evidence of a slow down. Many people need babysitters, places to board their pets, and housing too. Hotel bookings are down drastically compared to last year. On top of that, any international travel for the tournament will likely not happen.

"We are not receiving a lot of calls, and in a previous year, we would have been receiving a lot of calls," Bowen said

On the positive side, the Visitors Bureau says Augusta is a drive destination year-round.

Augusta's Economic Development Authority says business is still very active across the region. Most people in the business community are going on with their plans for Masters, even if the possibility of being without patrons.

Augusta National has not canceled the Masters and the tournament is currently scheduled to be held.

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