Vancouver Sun: COVID-19 in B.C.: The first three months — Early worries and calls to action

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It would not be long, though, before revenue would be dropping at companies across the province.

Greg D’Avignon, CEO of the B.C. Business Council, started tracking the effect of COVID-19 in China and Italy in mid-February and, later that month, in Seattle. He predicted on March 2 that the coronavirus could become a pandemic, but at that point did not envision “a disastrous impact” on local businesses, he said in a recent email.

“BCBC provided its first downgrade to our outlook for the B.C. economy in early March, due to the impact of blockades and COVID-19,” D’Avignon’s email said. “Within a week, we realized our updated forecast was already badly out of date given the exponential global shutdown on travel, manufacturing, consumer-facing sectors and consumer spending.”

The business council would then predict a staggering decline in B.C.’s gross domestic product of up to 11 per cent, compared to the effect of the 2008-2009 recession, which was a 2.6 per cent decline.

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