Greetings all -

As we adjust to our New Normal of COVID-19 mitigation, we are being inundated with information – and with requests for information – as I’m sure you are. We have created a COVID-19 resource page with links to resources, the latest news, and by-sector information/guidance. You also can learn of ways you can help. 

To introduce this outreach to you, we’re sending this first email out to our widest network on Wed – Fri, March 18-20. To continue receiving this email starting the week of March 23, you’ll have to opt in – we want to be respectful of your preferences.

What we know is that commerce must continue, families must be cared for. This requires great intentionality on our part. Now more than ever, we must “think globally and act locally.”

How can you help? You will see below that we have some initial suggestions about how to support your community. Should you have more suggestions, please share them!

How can the government help? Our government partners are calling and asking for specific suggestions: how can they help? We want to respond quickly to your need. Contact with your ideas.
“The Quarter The World Stood Still”

3/18/2020: On the national landscape, yesterday saw European leaders agreeing to close European borders to all travel, and confirmation that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act would head to the Senate Floor for a vote.

The markets continue to reflect volatility, but yesterday fared better. The Dow and S&P are up. Market analysts point to the Administration working through a Level 3 stimulus package, potentially over $1 trillion. This package is targeting sectors and industries most impacted by the virus: $500 billion in direct payments to consumers most affected; $2-300 billion to small business; $50-100 billion for airlines/aircraft manufacturers/hotels and leisure industries impacted by the restrictions on public gatherings. The Administration also has indicated that, depending on the market reactions to this stimulus plan, they are not ruling out a potential phase 2 proposal as well.

The big question: how long and how deep a recession should we anticipate? 3 key factors to look for: 

  • When we hit the peak in virus infection rate. Is still spreading across Europe and North America, so we haven’t hit the peak yet.

  • When the market volatility/repositioning eases. Right now we are seeing a lot of fear provoking stronger reactions/market adjustments.

  • When we see market fundamentals reset to a New Normal. 

We have seen much of the economic damage already reflected in the equity markets, mostly due to “seizure.” Productive capacity isn’t impaired; we’ve simply gone home. Market analysts are anticipating a deep but short recession, centered on 2d and 3d quarters of 2020. Compare it to the 1990-91 recession, but NOT 2008. Indeed, once uncertainty eases, the economy could come roaring back again into 2021.

Where do we go from here? Know that much of the volatility we are seeing in the markets is due to our own fear – and the seizure. That said, without a doubt we will see an increase in the number of bankruptcies nationwide – and, certainly, in our state. We’ve already heard from Saint Paul’s Mayor Carter that he is proactively exploring options to provide support to the business community. More on that to come.

Thank you, and be well!

B Kyle
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce