How coronavirus is affecting Central Florida’s economy

ORLANDO, Fla. — The coronavirus is hitting the economy in Central Florida hard, with several counties missing out on millions due to conventions and events being canceled.

Orange County officials said the county has lost more than $280 million due to conventions being canceled amid fears of the coronavirus, and it could lose even more.

Several Central Florida cities and counties have declared states of emergency. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency.

Read: Coronavirus: What is a state of emergency and how does it work?

Channel 9 spoke with financial advisers on the impacts the coronavirus could have on Central Florida.

“Because we are highly reliant on tourism and leisure, we could see a potential financial slowdown in Central Florida. The scope and magnitude will be dependent on how long it takes to peak and level out. We are already seeing the effects with the closure of theme parks, cruises, flights, professional sports,” said Dale Crossley, a financial adviser.

Read: Coronavirus: Which Orlando theme parks are closed and for how long?

Not only are theme parks being affected, the fears of COVID-19 are affecting local businesses in the area.

Popular restaurants in Oviedo and Orlando have seen a slight decrease in business because people are avoiding large group interactions.

As of Friday, the stock market has begun to rise after its historic plunge Thursday.

Read: How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting air travel in Orlando?

Dale Crossley and Evan Shear, both financial advisers, believe the market will rebound; it’s just a matter of when.

“It never feels good when we are going through a correction or major pullback. When things have looked the worst in the past, it has been the best time to invest if you have more than a short-term time horizon,” Shear said.

But what does this all mean for locals wanting to know more about their financial future amid the coronavirus outbreak?

Read: Coronavirus: What Central Florida events are canceled this weekend?

With a pandemic ongoing, Central Floridians should already have financial preparations in place, according to Shear.

Shear said he has been suggesting his clients build some reserves.

“At this point, I would be building a list of names (of stocks) you have wanted to own and prepare to tranche in over the next few weeks," said Shear. “The worst may not be behind us, but if you have more than a myopic outlook, there are some opportunities that could be hard to pass up.”

With the stock market plunging, there is fear of a recession. Both Crossley and Shear believe the probability of a recession in the near future has increased dramatically.

Read: Coronavirus: 10 reasons you should not panic

However, Shear believes it won’t be a very long recession. “Many of us believed it was coming before this outbreak, but the virus may have just put the nail in the coffin. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we don’t think this one will be very long or deep like ’08-'09.”

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Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.