The coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on the local, state, national, and global economy. With the statewide Stay-at-Home order in effect until at least May 4th, the Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA) conducted a survey of over 220 county businesses to better understand how they have been affected by the current health and economic crisis.

In conducting the survey during the weeks of April 6-17, the WBA found that the local business community remains optimistic about its ability to recover, though there are significant areas of concern. While the situation remains highly fluid, county, state, and federal policymakers should heed the health and economic concerns of the county’s employers. Decades of research showing the tendency for health to decline and mortality to increase during periods of high unemployment is clear: A prolonged economic recession or depression will place added stress on an already fragile healthcare system.

We simply cannot allow a health crisis created by the coronavirus to become a health crisis created by a prolonged economic contraction. Whatcom County has a dynamic local economy, and every reason to experience a strong recovery. However, we are not immune to permanent business closures, high unemployment, and a host of economic challenges that can and will have a severe impact on the region’s health.

As a result, we recommend that the county’s elected and appointed leaders work closely with the business community to ensure residents are healthy, businesses are solvent, and the county returns to an era of individual and business health and prosperity as fast as possible.

Download the full report here.