Message from Chamber President and CEO, Joshua Bonner, IOM
Word over the weekend that the BNP Tennis Tournament had been cancelled was tough news for our valley. A 2017 economic impact study showed the tournament accounted for over $400 million dollars in total gross impact to our local economy. From our local hotels to main street shops, no corner of our economy will be spared the economic reverberations of that cancellation.
While the tennis tournament being cancelled was a punch to the gut, the real haymaker was the delay of our music festivals, which account for another $700 million dollars in overall economic activity to our region. For those counting that’s over a billion dollars, with a capitol B, in potential lost or delayed economic activity vital to our local economy.
Yes, your local business community is concerned. Our first thoughts are, as always, with our community. Your local merchants do more than work here, they live here, own homes here, raise their families here – our concerns are your concerns. The bedrock of any community is health and safety, and first and foremost we want both for our community.
But let’s make this a very clear element of the current discourse over business impacting decisions both large and small, you don’t just pull a billion dollars out of a local economy and have it pass like a sneeze. There will be real reverberations to our community. From the potential for lost jobs to reduced income, we are talking about serious and perhaps lasting impacts to our residents that live and work in the Coachella Valley.
Which is why we are asking our entire community to take a moment, get the facts, and let professionals do what they have trained for years to do; manage these types of situations. It’s important to remember that our valley businesses do not operate in an unregulated environment, from the local health department, to state and federal regulations, standards to own and operate a business in Riverside County are generally high, especially so for hospitality related business. It’s our local agencies that we have trusted to make it so, and we should trust that process now.
All our local and state agencies are working tirelessly to keep us up to date, and to keep control of an evolving situation using years of study, preparation and protocol for this very scenario. And as of today, most are saying the same thing – be smart and carry on.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued no warning or restrictions on travel anywhere in the U.S. and the health risk to the general public remains low according to the California Department of Public Health. For more information on the latest guidance, you can visit the California Department of Public Health HERE.
Perhaps legitimate health and safety concerns will prompt officials to take further actions in the coming days and weeks, and if that becomes the case the Chamber of Commerce and our business community will respect the guidance of those professionals. In the meantime, we encourage our community and local businesses to remain calm and carry on.
Now, more than ever, our community will need to support each other. Chambers of Commerce have carried the “Shop Local” flag for sometime now. We do it because we believe in it. Today, we do it because our community is absolutely going to depend on it.
Thank you for your support.