Florida’s Opening Economy May Not Affect Smaller Cities

By  //  June 13, 2020

Humanity is facing an unprecedented threat, not witnessed in decades. The novel coronavirus pandemic that initially started in China’s Hubei province of over 58 million inhabitants has now spread all over the world without the end of it seen in the foreseeable future.

Humanity is facing an unprecedented threat, not witnessed in decades. The novel coronavirus pandemic that initially started in China’s Hubei province of over 58 million inhabitants has now spread all over the world without the end of it seen in the foreseeable future.

The region’s capital city of Wuhan is home to over 11 million people. In comparison, it is larger than Greater London. This city became the first one to go on full, strict lockdown as the spread of the unknown virus became irreversible. 

Despite some radical and elaborate measures to somehow contain the spread of the virus, it still escaped Mainland China. COVID-19 first appeared in some other Asian countries and later in Europe and the United States. Nations like Japan and South Korea were some of the first ones to confirm coronavirus cases.

Yet, these countries managed to prevent the widespread across their territories through large scale testing and strict but timely measures. As a result, both of countries managed to avoid catastrophic nationwide lockdowns. 

The situation is drastically different in the rest of the world. Soon after reaching Europe, this aging continent became the global epicenter of the pandemic. Italy’s northern Lombardy region took an unexpected hit and recorded a massive number of cases, forcing the entire country to shut down for more than 2 months. 

Italy became the first country to introduce a complete, nationwide lockdown as no one was allowed to leave the house without an essential reason. 

The same scenario was repeated in nearby Spain as it soon took over the title of the most affected nation from Italy. It still has some of the highest infection rates per 1 million people while having the second-highest number of cases after the United States. 

The latter is the main topic of discussion on every media around the world as the country’s cases have skyrocketed within an extremely short period of time.

Overnight, Americans woke up to over roughly 1.3 million coronavirus cases and more than 70 thousand deaths. The consequences of this virus can potentially be catastrophic even for such a powerful nation. 

Many blame the Republican party and President Donald Trump for being late in response to the global crisis while refusing to follow health advice from professionals.

Despite what the world is witnessing today, Trump himself and many of his supporters have asked for the American economy to open up immediately, fearing the unavoidable recession. 

Thanks to the strong support, almost all states are moving forward with the plan to open up, including Florida.

Protests were held in a number of locations despite the ban on mass gatherings. People were asking to open barbershops and entertainment centers across the state. Yet, from an economic standpoint, Florida might not flourish even if the economy opens completely. 

The economic environment during the coronavirus pandemic 

The global economy is expected to take the biggest and most detrimental hit after the great recession. A hundred years on, some things have changed, but many businesses are still struggling to sustain themselves during the lockdown.

However, those that had already familiarized themselves with the digital economy were already prepared for the economic crisis that would follow the pandemic.

The focus here are the financial speculators in Florida of course. The state is teeming with investors looking for new opportunities, and what’s a better opportunity than a plunged market?

However, there was something quite different about this particular surge of online traders in the state. Most of them went for currency pairs rather than stocks that we’re used to.

The primary reason could be the speculation that the United States’ handling of the situation would devalue the USD significantly and yield much more through currency trades than stock trades. Therefore, hundreds of FX trading platform guides were supplied on the US market in order to teach people how to use the software being used for these trades.

Not only was it a method to provide information, it was also a method to sign these people up on these platforms. Naturally though, we are all aware of the FX trading laws in the US, so that didn’t really last long and people are quickly returning to a more traditional investment sphere already.

Unfortunately, the situation is completely opposite to the vast majority of businesses. Industries that are almost solely dependent on visitors were left in a standstill. The hospitality sector is the hardest-hit as the tourist industry is set for a tragic downfall.

This field that employs millions of people around the world has everything that coronavirus measures directly prohibit. Gathering of people, many individuals in limited spaces, and transportation are some of the factors that drive the surge in new cases all around the world. Without the vaccine being launched in the nearest future, the tourism industry will have to wait for quite some time. 

Florida is too dependent on tourism and it is backfiring during the pandemic 

Florida is one of the most beautiful states in the country. With its wildlife experiences, the Disney World, and golden beaches, it manages to attract tens of millions of visitors each and every year. Over time, it has as well become a major retirement destination for American and overseas retirees.

Therefore, in simple terms, Florida today is a major US state with a particularly aged population and tourism-dependant economy. 

The state plans to open up very soon as certain businesses were allowed to resume operations on the 4th of May. However, the number of such entities remains extremely limited. Cafes, bars are restaurants are allowed to open their outdoor spaces but only with 2 meters of distance kept between the visitors.

Indoor spaces can be operated at 25% capacity. It is practically the same for the retail sector which is expected to keep its operations at 25%. 

Leaders of the state have also decided to open its majestic beaches as the high season approaches. Florida covers hundreds of iconic beaches and archipelagos along its coastline.

Usually, these areas are flocked with tourists from all over the country and beyond, boosting local businesses. The state’s leadership perhaps is afraid that if the high season falls, Florida and the economy will have to struggle even more.

Jacksonville’s decision to open up its beach has already received waves of criticism from the general public, even takin the opposition to social media and coming up with some rather offensive hashtags. 

However, smaller tourist destinations and towns across the state realize the threat better than major areas. The Florida Keys announced that they will not open their beaches up until mid to late June this year.

Instead, their recreational areas opened only for locals to exercise and relax.  They have shown their cautiousness about this very sensitive issue in the state, where the median age is particularly high. 

Even if the entire state opens its doors to visitors, most likely, no one will arrive. The unfortunate truth is that the tourism industry will not recover in just a few months but it will take years for it to get back to normal.

With the aviation industry completely stranded, small towns across Florida are even less likely to benefit from the state’s open economy.

Big urban areas such as Miami or Orlando might get themselves boosted due to more diversified economies and the presence of international airports. However, small communities that are so common in Florida will see no benefit but only a threat of another spike in this decision.