Live events industry feels economic plunge in South Florida

MIAMI – As the coronavirus pandemic began to impact South Florida and officials were forced to implement safety measures, workers and entrepreneurs in almost every sector experienced the economy’s downturn during the April-June quarter.

The July-September period will probably not be any better since furloughs, pay cuts and layoffs continue with the resurgence of COVID-19 cases. This is affecting consumer spending. On Thursday, the federal government reported the lowest second-quarter fall in the nation’s gross domestic product since 1947.

The threat of a double-dip recession concerns Bonnie Fimiano. She is the owner of Café Ala Carte and Chocolate Fountains of South Florida. She said there are 12 million other business owners like her who depend on the live events industry.

“On March 15, our industry came to a complete shutdown,” Fimiano said. “We don’t see our industry coming back until the end of the first quarter of 2021.”

Fimiano does advocacy work for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of Catering and Events and International Live Events Association. She recently helped to organize a protest for business owners in front of Sen. Marco Rubio’s office in Miami-Dade County.

Jobless claims in Florida (Local 10 News)

Fiamiano and other business owners want to have access to aid, so they can recover from the fall, and hire workers again. Workers want financial aid to be able to shelter at home during the pandemic. The weekly $600 federal unemployment benefit is set to expire.

Rubio released a statement on Thursday afternoon saying he believes more federal relief is “necessary to avoid structural deep damage to our economy.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About the Author:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.