Friday, March 20, 2020

Coronavirus is hurting rural tourism, even though health experts say it shouldn't prevent outdoor recreation

Health experts say the coronavirus should't prevent outdoor recreation, and the time of year for that is arriving. However, the coronavirus pandemic is expected to hurt local economies that depend on tourism and leisure, according to a new analysis from The Brookings Institution. Towns that rely on oil and gas production will also likely be affected disproportionately, the analysis predicts.

The layoffs have already begun, The Washington Post reports. "We will definitely see an effect on jobs from the coronavirus, and it could be pretty large in leisure and hospitality,” Julia Pollak, a labor economist at ZipRecruiter, told the Post. "The first thing we’ll see is a reduction in hours. We hear many reports of employers canceling staff everywhere except in health care."

Over the past week, for example, ski resorts in Colorado, Utah, California, Vermont and more have shut down during one of the most popular months for ski trips, John Branch reports for The New York Times. State officials in Moab, Utah, barred any new tourists from staying in hotels, worried that the local hospital couldn't handle treating locals and tourists if there was a local outbreak, The Associated Press reports.

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