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COVID-19 and its economic impact in the Brazos Valley

There may not be a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in BCS right now, but that doesn't mean the local economy isn't being affected.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M students will be finishing the rest of their semester online. Blinn College extended its spring break for an additional week, and many other schools in the area have canceled events for the next week.

“This is a college town predominantly and 68,000 students in the Texas A&M campus plus Blinn. All of them contribute to the economy, the vibrancy of the economy so it’s going to have a greater impact on the short term,” said Texas A&M Mays Business School Professor Venkatesh Shankar.

Depending on the kind of local business and service, different companies will be affected in various ways by the outbreak.

“I think the local businesses have to be bracing themselves for a short-term negative impact. And also be prepared when the demand comes back. They should be prepared. You could see the retailing is going to be partially affected, partially enhanced,” said Shankar

For example, stores that are selling cleaning agents are running into high demand and low supplies, versus restaurants and gyms that may face less traffic during this time.

“You have to understand that this kind of pandemic or epidemic will have severe short-term impacts but then in the long-term if we actually react to it properly, appropriately it will play out okay. But in the short-term it’s going to be very, very difficult but we have to not panic and do the right thing at the right time,” said Shankar.

The effects on the local economy may only be temporary, and professor Shankar says it depends on how quickly a vaccine or cure is discovered for COVID-19.

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