Closings, stay-at-home orders could be troublesome for CSRA economy

Monday, March 23, 2020
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

(Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Take out and delivery look to help keep restaurants in the area afloat, but plenty of Augusta shops can’t offer that.

With consumer spending making up about 2/3rds of our economy, economists say mandatory closings and stay-at-home orders could create what may feel like one of the worst recessions by next month.

The price of caution comes at the expense of certainty. Primetime Bar & Grill feels that first-hand. It’s one of the many locally-owned businesses changing normal operations for to-go orders or carry out.

Augusta commission’s executive order extends through April 4, but the financial impact may extend much further.

Unless you run a farm-to-table program like Rebecca van Loenen, business is unlikely booming. “all sales have just engrossed” (Rebecca van Loenen/Augusta Locally Grown,

But Loenen is grateful Augusta’s Locally Grown is doing some of its best numbers in 12 years.

“I thought this could be really bad. People could cancel their order, but instead, we saw an increase,” Loenen said.

However, it’s the exception to what economists say will be the rule -- a decline in business and consumer shopping. They’re expecting April and May to see devastating effects across the country.

Our local economic authority is trying to map out resources for our small businesses before then.

“Reaching out to all of our metro employees to see what they’re doing and how they’re doing and how we can assist them,” Cal Wray, president of the Augusta Economic Authority, said.

Assistance can’t come soon enough.

According to the Augusta Economic Development Authority, Augusta was doing its best for the past few years. Calling it a “positive economy” would have been an understatement.

Now, it’s on to recovery move when possible.

Closures could go beyond April 4, and the city is expecting to announce enforcement this week.

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