Local expert weighs in on Coronavirus impact on Las Vegas economy

coronavirus

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As coronavirus concerns continue around the world and in Las Vegas, many small business owners and hospitality industry employees are concerned about its local economic impact. 

8 News Now spoke with UNLV Director & Professor of Economics Stephen Miller Thursday about the potential long term effects of cancelled events and the ultimate loss of work. 

“It’s just going day by day and hoping the cancellations stop,” local catering company owner Haydee Fernandez-Stoppa told 8 News Now about the recent climate. “You’re depending on these people to come, and then they cancel because they are afraid of the Coronavirus.”

Fernandez-Stoppa and her husband own Vanilla and Pepper Catering. Their company is one of many that has felt the effects of lost work since several conventions cancelled events this week. 

Atmosphere 2020,  The NXT Global Summit, The Atlassian Summit 2020 and The Adobe Summit all announced recent cancellations or amendments to digital and video streaming options to avoid human contact, citing coronavirus caution. 

“For Las Vegas, the effect is largely the demand side effect,” Stephen Miller explained. “So the cancellation of conventions is a precursor of reduction in visitors.”

Miller added that while these sudden changes aren’t a good sign, it’s too early to predict any long term issues. 

“In order to have a big effect you’d have to have a significant cluster of illnesses in Southern Nevada,” Miller said. “Such a big cluster that people decide they’re not going to come.”

Miller advised affected businesses and employees to prepare and not panic, so they can make it to the other side of any potential downturn. 

“You’re just crossing your fingers and hoping everything is going to get better,” Fernandez-Stoppa concluded. 

Miller predicted a drop in international tourism in Las Vegas in the near future, but he said we could see more US visitors as people avoid overseas travel. 

Studies also show a local, economic downturn would have to continue for at least three months to cause any long term effects. 

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