The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted South Florida. Business owners, students and many others have been hit by restaurant and other closings. Now they are worried about the state reopening and the rapidly rising growth rate of the disease.
The chairman of Florida International University’s Department of Economics, Ali C. Karayalcin, explains the situation is worsened by the multiplier effect. When consumers don’t spend money, locals don’t earn it. And when locals are laid off or furloughed, they don’t spend. The result has been a sharp reduction in economic activity.
Twenty-five percent of the workforce is considered highly vulnerable. Many fear not being able to pay their cost of living or other basic necessities.
Many full-time students with part-time jobs have a difficult time adjusting to their new norm. Medical aesthetic student and part-time after-school counselor Ashley Perdomo has been without a job for months. She did not qualify for Florida reemployment assistance and has been living off of her savings since being furloughed. “I did apply for unemployment and have not yet received a response from them, so that’s just even more frustrating,” said Perdomo.
South Florida’s economy has suffered from a lack of tourists. The cruise, hotel and airline industries have been strongly affected by the closures. Cruise lines have suspended travel since March, flights have been drastically reduced, and hotels have only recently started to open. Tourism in Florida fell 10.7% in the first quarter and much more in the second.