Mississippi is processing nearly 130,000 unemployment claims due to the loss of jobs because of the Coronavirus--that’s a 14,000 percent job loss. The virus has had devastating effects on restaurants. Pat Fontaine is with the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association.
“The last survey results indicated that we can expect 11 percent of our restaurants to close permanently and unfortunately I feel that maybe a higher number,” said Fontaine.
Fontaine says that’s about 520 restaurants out of 4,800 statewide. Scott Waller, President of the Mississippi Economic Council says small businesses have been adversely affected the most by the pandemic. He says businesses want to bring workers back and reopen the economy.
“I think everybody’s anxious to get back up and running and get back to some semblance of what we are used to however I think everybody understands too that this will have to be done very judiciously,” said Waller
Waller says consumer confidence must increase for people to venture out. Dr. Claude Brunson, with the Mississippi Medical Association says widespread testing would reduce anxiety about going out again. But right now there are not enough test kits.
“And so until we can get adequate testing, we’re sorta, sorta flying blind a little bit. The test will help us make informed decisions about how to go about opening up,” said
Governor Tate Reeves has called the virus’ effect on the economy “insane”--saying the state has a health crisis and an economic one.
“The longer we allow this economic crisis to foster, the more trouble we’re going to be in not only as a state, but as a society,” said Reeves.
Reeves has talked about reopening the state’s economy in steps, the same way he ordered segments of the community to shut down.