Greenville business owners brace for economic impact of coronavirus

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)–Greenville was set to host the NCAA Women’s Regional games at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, but that tournament has been cancelled. Other events like concerts and comedy shows are being postponed–this putting a strain on the local economy.

Events like the tournament bring in thousands of people to the area. Not only do they go to the games, but they also stay in hotels, eat at restaurants, and shop at retailers. Now that those people won’t be in Greenville, business are preparing for the worst.

Bob Saurer and his wife live in Hendersonville, but come to Greenville about once a month.

“We don’t come into contact with a lot of people, we don’t go to large gatherings, we come have a couple of drinks and a nice meal,” Saurer said.

Even so, he’s just one of many canceling plans because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We had six friends who were coming with us and we were going to spend the night in a hotel go to the baseball game and gave a good time here in Greenville and now we’re not going,” Saurer said.

He’s not the only one. Changes in events at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena will drastically impact the number of people coming to town.

“The hotels are having multiple cancellations in their facilities business travel is really almost dried up in the marketplace,” VisitGreenville SC vice president of sales David Montgomery said”

Montgomery said without fans at the NCAA Basketball games, local businesses will lose out.

“We’re anticipating an impact of $1.9-million and now it’s a little over $400,000,” Montgomery said.

With the cancellation, those numbers are now zero.

Steve Boone’s restaurant Trio is right on Main Street.

“Foot traffic is so important to us it draws tons of extra people,” Boone said.

Normally, with events at the Bon Secours Wellness arena, Boone said the restaurant can see 50-percent more business.

“Those are huge events that we were budgeting for. I mean you just keep going,” Boone said.

His employees are taking extra health precautions to keep working, but count on tips coming from customers.

“They depend on that type of thing. They know when these events come and their personal planing works that way,” Boone said.

But the biggest concern is that there seems to be no end is sight.

“This isn’t just a short term blip, we don’t know how long its going to last,” Montgomery said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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