Coronavirus weighs it’s toll on the local economy


The Chaparral

Toilet paper aisle at a grocery store in La Quinta, Calif.

Alexis Carranza, Staff Reporter

Coronavirus or COVID-19 has not only affected the health of individuals but possibly the health of our local economy. The Coachella Valley has a seasonal economy that relies heavily on the BNP Paribas Open, Coachella Fest and Stagecoach.

The BNP Paribas Open’s official website stated, “estimated total gross economic impact on the Coachella Valley regional economy of $406,602,107,” in the past, which now has been completely severed by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Also with the tournament canceled many hotels in the Coachella Valley will suffer greatly.

Local hotels were not allowed to disclose any information other than press releases from a corporate level. Hilton Worldwide who operates 10 hotels in the Palm Springs area, has released a statement with their “commitment” to, “cancel and modify existing reservations from the month of March through April 30 without penalties.

According to the 2018 annual report by Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau “1 in 4 jobs in the Coachella Valley is supported by tourism. The outcome of the cancellation of the BNP, and postponement of Coachella  Fest at this moment is uncertain.

Jonathan Rodriguez a student at College of the Desert said that “It will drastically change the economy, as our economy gets a huge boost of local events.”

BNP is not only bringing money into the desert, it is the attracting force that brings tennis lovers to the desert. Stephanie Jimenez a student at College of the Desert said, “The tennis event brings business not just to the venue, but also to the surrounding establishments!”

Local schools have also been impacted by the virus outbreak.

Riverside County officials have shut down schools across the state. Preschools, K-12, and colleges have all been shut down. College of the Desert has begun to move all classes to online format starting March 16.

The closure will be leaving many without child care services, and according to many, some children without food. Coachella resident Diego Aguirre said, “A lot of families rely on their kids eating at least one meal at school, plus the fact that many families cannot afford a babysitter will tremendously impact them.”

Alex Chable works at a restaurant in Palm Springs that is now seeing the dining hall empty.

Chable, who has a degree in economics from UC San Diego said, “When that [tourism] starts to slow down, everything begins to take a hit,” However, Chable saw the cancelation of BNP as a good thing, “Even though the cancellation has negative effects, it is good in slowing the spread of the virus.”

On the other hand, grocery stores are filled with masses of people, while shelves are empty. “Panic buying is taking away masks from the nursing filed, and baby wipes from parents with infants,” said Agular.

Chable said, “We are not hearing anything from our government as far as food shortages, food still available truck routes are not affected. Nobody is talking, there is no talk about supply chains being cut. So, there is no need to panic shop. I understand why people are stocking up, but they are taking groceries away from people who really need it. They are also exposing themselves by crowding in grocery stores.”

As information continues to travel about the outbreak and some are uncertain about employment COD students have an option, should you need a job after the pandemic visit College of the Desert’s career and workforce center might be something to look into.

Though the campus is closed, career counseling is still available via online counseling. Email Dr. Frank Ramirez at [email protected]

For the latest updates on COVID-19 pandemic and tips on prevention visit the CDC’s website at

COD campuses will be closed until April 30, 2020