TIOGA COUNTY — As news of the corona virus and the situation grows more grim, local businesses may soon begin to feel affects of this pandemic.
Monday morning New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the closure of all bars, restaurants and movie theaters at 8 p.m. March 16.
Later in the day Monday Governor Wolf announced similar measures for Pennsylvania restaurants, bars and movie theaters. Governor Wolf strongly encouraged all nonessential businesses across the state to close for at least 14 days to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Following the announcement by Mansfield University to move to an online class structure Friday afternoon, Earle Aumick, general manager at Papa V’s Pizzeria in Mansfield said, “That’s what is going to hurt. Our evenings and weekends are a lot of college students. That is going to be big. It’s going to make a difference people being afraid to come out.”
As the severity of the outbreak increases, businesses are starting to feel the affect the virus is having.
Colleen Hanson of Visit Potter Tioga, said the coronavirus has had a huge impact on the local economy.
"Right now tourism is one of the top industries in our area. Once the governor made the announcement [Monday] people stopped coming immediately," Hanson said.
With the lack of people visiting the area some businesses may not be able to stay open, those that have stayed open are seeing far fewer tourists than normal.
"Businesses won't be able to recoup losses from this," Hanson said. "Tourism is very resilient, once this passes people will want to get back out, however everyday this goes on is another day our businesses don't have an income."
Hanson mentioned that the lack of tourists affects the entire local economy. If people aren't coming to the area, they aren't going to the restaurants, staying in the hotels, getting gas or visiting attractions she said.
At the time of writing, there had not been any reported cases in Tioga County.
“If it (coronavirus) does come to this area and businesses start to close, then we will come up with some sort of marketing plan,” Dawn Hull, president of the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce, said.
In terms of comparison to other illnesses Hull said she felt the coronavirus was different.
“I think in the past you have other viruses and it didn’t impact at the same level as a pandemic and create the panic that this has. I don’t remember the university making such long-term decisions, whether because of technology or because of this being unknown,” Hull said.
In addition the effect on the local economy, there is the potential impact the virus poses to the upcoming census.
“At this time there is no discussion of extensions as there is still time before the door to door enumerating will take place. This may actually encourage people to respond online or by phone or to fill out the paper form and send it in,” said Carl Cox via email concerning the census.