Regional leaders and partners gathered for a special informational live digital press conference on coronavirus Friday, March 13. The conference was sponsored by Loma Linda University Health and Inland Empire Economic Partnership. Representatives from the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside also attended.
Trudy Raymundo, the director of public health for the county of San Bernardino said while there are zero cases of caronavirus in San Bernardino County, “If you are not feeling well, go home.”
Economist Manfred Keil told the public that the national economy is in a two-quarter recession due to the cancellations of entertainment and public events across the country. He said that if Coachella does not go forward on its postpone date of Friday, Oct 9, due to the virus not being contained, the financial loss would cost the local economy about $400 million, and that it would be an indicator of a long-term recession.
Keil also said that the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles receive 40 percent of the Inland Empire’s imports and that container traffic is down 20 percent. He says the Inland Empire logistics sector alone is one-third of the regions economy and responsible for 6 percent of it employment.
Statewide logistics and the visa/hospitality sectors are the main economic drivers of California’s economy, said Keil. He said before the travel ban to China 145 direct flights from China to California came in a week, 580 flights a month, he says along with the money that is spent by Chinese tourist, the California economy is losing $250 billion a month on tourism.
This conference was happening as President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus a national emergency and an emergency decree that will open up $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak.