TAPinto: According to the study, 57 percent CEOs and business owners say public health should be the main focus for the time being. Around 35 percent say reopening the economy should be the main focus. What category do you fall into, and how long do you think it will take for the economy to return to what it was pre-virus?
Mahar: It’s not either or for me. Long term, we need to get the economy going again, but we also need to take care of people. I really don’t think turning it on and off is going to be as easy as we want to be. I can give you a lot of examples, but what about school? Let’s talk about St. Bonaventure University. Let’s suppose we start up again in August. We won’t have a vaccine by August. What do you do with an older professor who is at risk with an underlying condition? Do you want to put that person in front of a class? Or do you want to continue to teach online? What do you do with students who aren’t comfortable with being in the classroom? It’s not going to be as easy as turning a switch. People are making the mistake of thinking it’s going to be like turning a switch, and we’ll be right back to where we were. That’s not going to happen.
TAPinto: What has the pandemic meant for your business?
Mahar: For the first two weeks, sales were up pretty significantly. That’s when people were panic buying mode. It wasn’t to the degree that bigger stores went through, but people were definitely buying more. Now, I am not going to say it’s completely down to where it was, but it’s down a lot more from two weeks ago.
We’ve had six or seven employees either ask off for an extended period of time, because either they have an existing condition or someone they live with does, and they don’t want to take the chance of bringing that home. One person retired. He was going to retire this summer. He retired early because he didn’t feel safe being in front of people.
TAPinto: You also are an associate professor of finance at St. Bonaventure University. On the teaching side, have you used the coronavirus as a teaching lesson in your courses?
Mahar: Absolutely. We talk about it all the time. Yesterday, we had an alumnus who works out in Silicon Valley as a credit stock analyst. He called in for a half hour and talked about his views and what he thought was going to happen. Last week we had someone from New York City do the same. He talked about the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009. He talked about the reaction of this time and compared it to last time. We’ve worked it into quite a few classes.
For more information on the Coronavirus in the Greater Olean area, visit TAPinto Greater Olean's Coronavirus Updates page, which is updated continuously.
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