Coronavirus outbreak triggers concerns over possible economic impact
Published Friday, January 31, 2020 7:46PM PST Last Updated Friday, January 31, 2020 7:57PM PST
VANCOUVER -- A B.C. business association is growing concerned over the possible impact the coronavirus outbreak could have on businesses in the province.
The Richmond Chamber of Commerce said restaurants in the area are seeing a drop in customers during the typically busy Lunar New Year celebrations.
"We see that some of restaurant attendance, some of the event participation, have gone down by five to 15 per cent," said Fan Chun, the chair of the organization, which represents 1,000 merchants in the city.
But Chun said other contributing factors could be the Huawei extradition case, trade issues or the civil unrest in Hong Kong.
"It could be due to any one or all three of those reasons. So it is hard to pinpoint if the drop in attendance is caused by the coronavirus alone," said Chun, who said the coronavirus is top of mind for many people in the community.
"Immediately when you greet someone you say hi, and then the second upcoming topic is, are you about to travel to China? Are you about to travel to Asia? It’s the talk of the town at this point in time."
Chun says that if the outbreak continues to grow, he's concerned about the impact it could have on businesses.
"In terms of importing, you any see some impact just on a supply-chain side just because in China, factories are being requested to delay the going back-to-work date," he said. "So in terms of companies that rely on import to fulfill their inventory level, they may see a delay."