As the world tries frantically to contain a rapidly spreading outbreak of Covid-19, schools, public venues, tourist attractions, and workplaces are being closed in an attempt to keep even more people from contracting the illness. Quarantines and self-isolation protocols are also being instituted across the globe for those who may have been exposed.
Of course, everyone knows that millions of people in China have been in lockdown for more than a month. People are told to stay home, many businesses have ceased to operate, and Chinese New Year celebrations simply didn’t happen this year. China’s debts are all coming due now, at the worst possible time as the financial loss for the country has been astronomical. For example, car sales are down 92% and Lunar New Year celebrations and travel that usually earn a billion dollars were canceled.
And that tourism hit affects far more than just China. In 2017, Chinese outbound tourists spent $258 billionaround the world. The airline industry is bracing for a $29 billion dollar hit. All in all, this virus could end up costing the global economy more than 1.1 trillion dollars, a number that is practically unfathomable.
While the numbers cited here are outrageously large, obviously, these losses aren’t only going to affect “the economy” and “the businesses.” They’re going to have devastating effects on normal folks who just want to go to work, pay their bills, and keep living their lives normally.
A great deal has been written about the economic hits on a global scale as well as the shortages we could soon expect as production in China grinds to a halt, but what about simply being able to pay your rent when your workplace or business is ordered to shut its doors?
Something nobody is really talking about is the financial hit that people will be taking during such closures. This is a very real concern, and for families who already live paycheck to paycheck, the loss of income could prove devastating.
How will containment efforts affect average folks financially?
All over the world, cities are frantically attempting to contain the virus.
Yesterday came the news that 10 cities in northern Italy had closed all public venues due to a new cluster of coronavirus patients. The towns, in the Lombardy region, have shuttered restaurants, stores, and schools. Public gatherings like carnival celebrations, church masses, and sporting events have been banned for at least a week. In one town, Casalpusterlengo, an electric sign reads, “Coronavirus: the population is invited to remain indoors as a precaution.” Seventeen people in the region have tested positive for Covid-19, and two have perished there from the illness.
Millions of people in South Korea have been told to stay at home. Preschools have been closed and public gatherings and demonstrations have been banned.
Thousands of people in the United States are under voluntary self-quarantine, not to mention the hundreds who have been repatriated and put into mandatory quarantine. Obviously, unless these folks have jobs to which they can telecommute, they’re not working.
All of these containment measures are certainly wise and in the best interest of peoples’ health. But what about their bank accounts?
Here’s a scenario that’s seeming less and less farfetched.
If you’re the owner of a physical business like a store or restaurant, you’re going to have to shut down under any of the kind of mandates mentioned above. When you’re closed, of course, you’re not making money. It’s the same thing with factories (who will be there to produce the goods?) and offices. Your business will grind to a rapid halt.
And what about employees? Obviously, if you don’t go to work, you’re not going to get paid. And this isn’t just a case of “evil capitalists” who are too stingy to give their employees paid leave. If the business is not running, there is no revenue coming in. That means that even if the business owners were the most generous people alive, they probably couldn’t afford to maintain payrolls for very long.
So how are you going to pay your bills? It’s safe to expect that the mortgage company, the credit card companies, the utility companies, and all those other businesses with their hands out each month are still going to want their money. And their businesses could potentially carry on to some degree, remotely. That stuff isn’t just going to magically disappear. You’re going to owe that money. Even if companies try to work with folks as they did during the most recent government shutdown, the money will still be owed and you’ll still be unpaid for a week, a month, or however long you were out of work.
by Daisy Luther for The Organic Prepper