COVID-19's economic ripple effect

Published: Mar. 13, 2020 at 6:57 PM CDT
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The sudden economic downturn is impacting nearly everyone, whether it's your retirement investment or the small business you run.

At Bay Family Restaurant in Green Bay, the decades-old Martha's Coffee Club had only four players rolling dice Friday.

"The whole way of life has turned around, literally in 10 days," Tom Worachek commented.

With more empty tables than normal, the restaurant is doing everything it can to alleviate coronavirus fears.

"We've taken some proactive things, not only for our employees but just out in our restaurant, a little extra cleaning, just trying to stay ahead of it I guess is what it comes down to," Josh Olejniczak said.

As restaurant manager, Olejniczak hears a lot of opinions about COVID-19.

"You get both sides of it. You get this whole thing is a hoax, it's an election year -- you hear a lot of that -- and you also hear the people that are pretty worried about it too," Olejniczak said.

"There's some kind of trigger that then perpetuates a world of uncertainty, and our standard playbook when we don't know what's happening is to sort of pull back, be as safe as we possibly can," Marc Schaffer said.

Schaffer, a St. Norbert College economics professor, says until the country has a better handle on the scale and scope of COVID-19, the economy will suffer.

"What really is the big name of the game right now is uncertainty, I mean, we just don't know what's going to happen, so I think a lot of people are erring on the side of caution. Whether or not this creates the global recession conversation or that kind of stuff, what it really comes down to is how severe and how extensive is this situation," Schaffer said.

While their group may be smaller, the coffee club members aren't ready to put away their dice.

"I'm not saying we shouldn't do anything, that we should just ignore it, but there's common sense things that can be done and then see where it leads us," Worachek said.

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