Indoor, Outdoor & Kids' Trampolines

How Will Coronavirus Impact the Western Mass Economy? | Connecting Point | March 17, 2020


THIS WEEKEND THE BAKER
ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCED A BAN ON ON SITE CONSUMPTION AT BARS
AND RESTAURANTS BUT ALLOWED THEM TO STAY OPEN FOR TAKEOUT
PURCHASES. IN ADDITION HE INSTITUTED A BAN
ON GATHERINGS OF MORE THAN 25 PEOPLE. IN THE WAKE OF THIS, STORES LIKE
YANKEE CANDLE AND ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEXES LIKE BOUNCE TRAMPOLINE
SPORTS, IN ADDITION TO THE MGM CASINO, ARE CLOSING FOR THE
PERIOD OF TIME. ALL OF THIS WILL HAVE A
SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE LOCAL ECONOMY. CAROLEE MCGRATH SAT DOWN WITH
RICK SULLIVAN, THE PRESIDENT AND C.E.O. OF THE WESTERN MASS
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL, TO LEARN MORE.>>WHAT WE TALK ABOUT TODAY
COULD CHANGE BY THE END OF THIS TELECAST, SO IT IS VERY FAST
MOVING, SO PEOPLE NEED TO BE PAYING ATTENTION TO REALLY THE
GOVERNMENT WEBSITES TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON. BUT FIRST AND FOREMOST IT’S
OBVIOUSLY A HEALTH EMERGENCY THAT PEOPLE SHOULD BE FOLLOWING
THE HEALTH PROTOCOLS, BUT THERE WILL BE SHORT AND POTENTIALLY
LONG-TERM DRAGS ON THE ECONOMY AND CERTAINLY IMPACTING SMALLER
BUSINESSES IN PARTICULAR, BUT BUSINESS IN GENERAL AS A RESULT
OF THIS.>>CERTAINLY RETAIL, BECAUSE
THAT WAS A BIG THING THAT WAS ANNOUNCED BY THE GOVERNOR ON
SUNDAY. AND RESTAURANTS AND BARS, THAT
YOU CAN’T DINE IN, BUT YOU CAN TAKE OUT. THAT WILL BE A BIG HIT.>>RIGHT. PARTICULARLY WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING
AT THE SMALLER RESTAURANTS, THEY’RE ON VERY SMALL MARGINS
AND THEY RELY ON THE CASH FLOW AND NOW THAT CASH FLOW IS
STARTING TO DRY UP. YOU’RE STARTING TO SEE STATE
GOVERNMENT IN PARTICULAR BUT ALSO ORGANIZATIONS LIKE COMMON
CAPITAL OFFER, YOU KNOW, SHORT-TERM SMALLER BUSINESS
LOANS TO BE ABLE TO HOPEFULLY GET PEOPLE OVER THE HUMP. I THINK THERE WILL BE ADDITIONAL
PROGRAMS AS THIS MOVES ON AND TO SEE THE IMPACTS TO GET PEOPLE
THROUGH THE NEXT HOWEVER LONG WE’RE TALKING ABOUT. BUT IT LOOKS LIKE IT’S GOING TO
CERTAINLY BE MONTHS. I THINK PEOPLE SHOULD BE
ENCOURAGED IF THEY’VE GOT THEIR FAVORITE RESTAURANT OR SMALL
BUSINESS AND FOLLOWING THE PROTOCOLS THAT ARE SET OUT FOR
HEALTH PURPOSES, THEY CAN DO TAKEOUT OR BUY THE GIFT CARD,
THEY SHOULD DO THAT TO HELP THOSE SMALL BUSINESSES AND THOSE
RESTAURANTS OUT.>>A BIG PROBLEM OBVIOUSLY FOR
WAITERS AND WAITRESSES IN THOSE RESTAURANTS AS WELL, PLACES LIKE
BOUNCE, WHICH IS AN ENTERTAINMENT PLACE FOR KIDS,
THOSE PLACES CLOSED AS WELL. THOSE EMPLOYEES WILL BE
SUFFERING.>>SURE. SO YOU’RE ALREADY SEEING, YOU
KNOW, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THE STATE GOVERNMENT HAS ALREADY
RELAXED ALL OF THE RULES AROUND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS,
EVERYTHING FROM WHAT QUALIFIES TO THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
INDIVIDUALS THEY NO LONGER HAVE TO PERSONALLY GO TO THE CENTERS
TO DO THE REPORTING, THEY CAN DO IT OVER THE PHONE. THERE’S OTHER MECHANISMS IN
PLACE. BUT I WAS TALKING TO SOMEBODY
YESTERDAY, THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS IS SEEING 200
APPLICATIONS A DAY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AS A
RESULTS. SO IT IS GOING TO IMPACT
FAMILIES, WHICH IS WHY YOU’RE SEEING DISCUSSIONS. SENATOR ROMNEY AT THE FEDERAL
LEVEL TALKING ABOUT IS THERE A WAY TO SEND PEOPLE A $1,000
CHECK TO GET THEM THROUGH THIS TIME PERIOD SO THEY CAN PAY
THEIR MORTGAGES AND RENT AND BUY FOOD, BECAUSE IT IS GOING TO
TRICKLE DOWN THE ECONOMIC FOOD CHAIN.>>DO YOU THINK THAT WILL
HAPPEN, THAT WAS SOMETHING DONE IN 2001, YOU THINK HE’LL GET
MOMENTUM ON THAT?>>I DON’T KNOW WHETHER HE’LL
GET IT SPECIFICALLY ON THAT PROPOSAL, BUT IT’S GOOD TO SEE
THAT EVEN AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL THEY’VE BEEN ABLE TO COME
TOGETHER FOR A COVID-19 RESPONSE SO THE HOUSE AND SENATE, AND
LOOKS LIKE THE PRESIDENT WILL SIGN IT. THAT THEY’RE ABLE TO DEAL IN
TIMES OF EMERGENCY GET TOGETHER AND ACT ACCORDINGLY. GOVERNOR BAKER HAS BEEN OUT
FRONT HERE IN MASSACHUSETTS DOING A GOOD JOB, TRYING TO GET
AHEAD OF IT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, SO I THINK THE FLOW OF
INFORMATION HAS BEEN GOOD, AND PEOPLE NEED TO GO NOT
NECESSARILY JUST TO THE INTERNET, THEY REALLY NEED TO GO
TO THE FORMAL GOVERNMENT WEBSITES TO GET THE BEST
INFORMATION. WE’RE LUCKY HERE IN WESTERN
MASSACHUSETTS TO HAVE BAY STATE AND TO HAVE MERCY THAT HAVE VERY
PRO-ACTIVE WEBSITES THAT CAN REALLY GIVE YOU THE BEST
INFORMATION THAT’S RELIABLE AND TRUE.>>ONE OF THE MEASURES THAT THE
STATE HAD PASSED, THEY APPROVED A $10 MILLION SMALL BUSINESS
LOAN FUND, THAT OBVIOUSLY IS GOING TO BE SOMETHING NEEDED.>>IT IS GOING TO BE NEEDED. AND AGAIN IT’S VERY SIMILAR TO
THE COMMON CAPITAL PROPOSAL THAT’S OUT THERE WORKING WITH A
NUMBER OF THE OTHER PARTNERS TO BE ABLE TO ACCESS THAT IN THE
SHORT RUN TO GET THE BUSINESSES OVER THE HUMP ON THE REPAYMENT
PROVISIONS ON THAT ARE ABOUT AS FAVORABLE AS YOU CAN GET RIGHT
NOW. I WON’T BE SURPRISED IF THOSE
PROGRAMS CONTINUE TO EVOLVE, YOU KNOW, THERE’S GOING TO NEED TO
BE MORE OF AN INFLUX OF MONEY IN TERMS OF, PROBABLY NOT GOING TO
BE ENOUGH BUT IT’S A GOOD START. AND THERE’S A RECOGNITION THAT
THIS WILL BE IMPACTFUL TO SMALL BUSINESSES.>>THIS JUST EVOLVED, ABOUT A
WEEK AGO THE MAYOR OF HOLYOKE ANNOUNCED THEY WERE SHUTTING
DOWN THE ST. PATRICK’S DAY
PARADE AND ROAD RACE, WHICH WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THIS WEEKEND AND
HERE WE ARE ON ST. PATRICK’S
DAY. I THINK AT THE TIME THERE WAS
STILL A LOT OF SENTIMENT THAT WAS LIKE REALLY? ARE WE OVERREACTING? THEN YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENED
WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS, AND DAY BY DAY. BUT THAT IS A HUGE HIT,
OBVIOUSLY, TO HOLYOKE.>>YES, IT CERTAINLY IS A BIG
HIT. IT’S A BIG EVENT FOR THEM, BOTH
EMOTIONALLY, A CELEBRATION REALLY PUTTING HOLYOKE ON THE
MAP FOR THAT WHOLE WEEK IF NOT LONGER. BUT JUST THE DOLLARS THAT IT
BRINGS IN TO THE LOCAL RESTAURANTS AND BARS AND TO
OTHER VENDORS THAT, YOU KNOW, BENEFIT FROM HAVING THAT KIND OF
A CROWD. TRAVEL AND TOURISM IN GENERAL IN
WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS HAS BECOME, IT’S ALWAYS BEEN
IMPORTANT, BUT WITH THE CASINO AND THE ADDITION OF THE SEUSS
MUSEUM AND THE INVESTMENTS AT THE HALL OF FAME, WESTERN
MASSACHUSETTS REALLY IS A TRAVEL AND TOURISM, THAT IS AN
IMPORTANT PART OF OUR ECONOMIC SECTOR RIGHT NOW, AND THAT IS
CERTAINLY TAKING A HIT. AND IT’S NOT JUST THE VENUES,
IT’S ALL OF THE OTHER VENDORS AND RESTAURANTS AND BARS AND
HOTELS THAT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A ONE-DAY, TWO-DAY, THREE-DAY
TRIP. BUT THAT IS GOING TO SLOW DOWN,
IT JUST KIND OF SNOWBALLS.>>WHAT ARE YOU HEARING FROM
MANUFACTURING COMPANIES?>>SO THEY MAY HAVE BEEN A
LITTLE BIT EARLIER INTO IT, PARTICULARLY IF THEY WERE DOING
BUSINESS OVERSEAS, WHETHER IT WAS WITH CHINA OR EUROPE,
OBVIOUSLY THAT’S WHERE IT ALL KIND OF STARTED. THEY HAD STARTED TO SEE ORDERS
SLOW DOWN, YOU KNOW, THOSE RELATIONSHIPS WERE KIND OF PUT
ON HOLD FOR A WHILE AS THEY WERE DEALING WITH THE ISSUES IN CHINA
AND EUROPE, PARTICULARLY NOW ITALY, SPAIN AND ENGLAND, AND
IRELAND. SO THEY WERE ALMOST THE CANARY
IN THE MINE SHAFT, THAT THEY HAD ALREADY SEEN ORDERS TO SLOW
DOWN. SO I THINK EVERYBODY THINKS THAT
WHEN WE CAN GET THROUGH THIS, THINGS WILL PICK UP, AND
HOPEFULLY WE GET BACK TO THAT POINT. BUT IT’S GOING TO TAKE SOME
MONTHS BEFORE THAT HAPPENS.>>AND NONPROFITS AS WELL
SUFFERING.>>WE WERE TALKING EARLIER, I
THINK THE NONPROFITS IS AN AREA WHERE PERHAPS PEOPLE DON’T
NECESSARILY THINK OF IT BEING HARD HIT OR PART OF THE ECONOMY. IT’S AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE
ECONOMY, EVERYTHING FROM FOOD BANKS TO SCOUTING PROGRAMS, I
MEAN IT’S REALLY EVERYTHING AND THIS IS A TIME WHEN PEOPLE LOOK
TO THOSE NOT FOR PROFITS FOR SERVICES. YET MANY OF THEM HAD TO CANCEL
THEIR FUNDRAISERS, THEIR EMPLOYEES ARE OUT THE SAME AS IT
IS IN ANY OTHER BUSINESS. SO THEY’RE HAVING TROUBLE
MEETING DEMAND. IN TERMS OF THOSE SERVICES. SO IT IS AN OPPORTUNITY ON TWO
FRONTS, ONE IF YOU’RE ABLE TO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL CHARITY, YOU
KNOW, PLEASE DO SO. NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO DO THAT
BECAUSE THEY PROBABLY NEED THAT SUPPORT NOW MORE THAN EVER. AND EVEN IF THEY’RE NOT ABLE TO
HAVE THEIR FUNDRAISER, IF YOU CAN STILL BE SUPPORTIVE OF THAT,
TO SEND THEM A CHECK FOR THAT, I HAVE TO SAY THE COMMUNITY
FOUNDATION OF WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS HAS BEEN OUT IN
FRONT ON THIS. IF NOT FOR PROFITS, GO TO THEIR
WEBSITE, THEY ARE PUTTING TOGETHER A PROGRAM FOR THE
ISSUES AROUND COVID-19. AND RELIEF FROM THAT. SO A GRANT PROGRAM THERE. I WOULD ENCOURAGE NOT FOR
PROFITS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT. AND THERE’S A NETWORK ACROSS THE
STATE THAT HAS STEPPED UP TO DO THE SAME THING. SO IT’S BEING RECOGNIZED, BUT I
THINK EVERYBODY IN THEIR DAILY LIFE IN WESTERN MASS HAS A GREAT
TRADITION OF COMING TOGETHER AND BEING SUPPORTIVE, SO NOW IS THE
TIME TO DO THAT AND DON’T FORGET YOUR NOT FOR PROFITS, WHETHER
YOU’RE TALKING THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB OR THE Y, THE
SCOUTING PROGRAM, EVERYBODY IS IN THE SAME BOAT TRYING TO
PROVIDE SERVICES.

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