Coronavirus: Tampa Bay businesses seeing impacts as virus spreads

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – With the cancellation of so many events across the country and across Tampa Bay due to coronavirus, business owners are feeling the financial sting.

Roberto Torres, the owner of The Blind Tiger Café – which has locations in Tampa and Ybor City – said he’s slowly seen it get slower.

“It was fine until today (Friday). Today is the first day that we have noticed a slowdown in business,” Torres said.

Friday caps off a whirlwind week of major cancellations and changes, including the pausing of seasons for the NBA, NHL, MLB, XFL and others. Those changes are having a reciprocal effect on business here in Tampa Bay.

Visit Tampa Bay President and CEO Santiago Corrada said layoffs have already started happening.

“With all the cancellations we’ve seen, every big event of mass gathering we’ve seen canceled, that means folks aren’t visiting our restaurants, that means folks aren’t staying in our hotels, aren’t going to our attractions. I can tell you already we’ve seen some layoffs because some folks have prepared for these big events and these big events aren’t happening,” Corrada said.

The hope is that business owners can sustain until things level off and when it does, it won’t be horribly bad.

“These are the peak months for us, January through June. A lot of our local businesses depend on that kind of traffic during those months to help to sustain them through some of the slower months. So it’s going to be very difficult. So we’re hoping that it’s short term,” Corrada added.

The Small Business Administration is offering assistance to small business owners and non- profit organizations impacted by coronavirus.

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