CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Tim Brady, the Executive Director of Charleston CVB, says the COVID-19 pandemic closing local businesses, restaurants, facilities, and more will have a long-term impact on the community.
Brady told MetroNews that the CVB estimates a hit to the economy to the tune of “tens of millions of dollars.” He said this will be tough to recover from no matter how long it goes.
“You start peeling away the layers of this onion and it becomes overwhelming to think about,” Brady said. “Not only do you have all of these limitations on public gatherings, travel and movement of people but now people are being laid off and losing jobs.
“There goes the discretionary income out of your local economy.”
One of Charleston’s first hits during the pandemic was the postponement of girls and boys high school basketball tournaments at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center earlier this month. Brady said the tournaments bring in 10 million dollars annually.
All events at the facility were then canceled or postponed for 30 days, beginning March 12, voted on by the board. Brady, who was named to the CVB post in January and is a member of the board said the expos, said the board will reevaluate its decision at a time soon.
It’s likely the date will extend with Gov. Justice putting a stay-at-home order into effect Tuesday evening.
“The trickle-down effect of losing these big events is massive because everybody benefits from the business that the facility generates. So when that facility can’t generate business, then everybody suffers,” Brady said.
Most restaurants remain open in the city but are limited to takeout or delivery type services. Brady said he has not heard from any local businesses that may close their doors for good because of the orders put into place.
Brady said he isn’t sure what to expect whenever the businesses get back up and rolling. He said there will be pent up demand versus continuing concern for health.
For the current situation, Brady said businesses and consumers must be adaptable but also do what’s right for themselves.
“The best thing that people can do is make the best decision for themselves based on the evidence that they are given,” he said. “Trust your gut when it comes to travel, being out, shopping, and picking up food from the restaurant.”