VisitPittsburgh Estimates $75 Million Lost To Coronavirus So Far

Apr 29, 2020


On today's program: Dozens of cancelled and postponed conferences, festivals and concerts are resulting in lower tourism and less money for local businesses; and four voters weigh in on how the pandemic has impacted their voting preferences. 

Measuring the economic impact of a pandemic
(00:00 — 11:02) 

VisitPittsburgh estimates hotels, restaurants and tourism have lost out on $75 million so far due to pandemic-related cancellations and postponements. 

Jerad Bachar, executive vice president and interim CEO of Visit Pittsburgh, says conference and convention organizers are already scoping out the city as the site for future gatherings. The city will see crowds of tourists again, he says, albeit with precautions in place. 

“They’re looking for a lot more space, they’re looking for people to be spaced out, they’re making sure that they’re asking a lot more detailed questions about health and safety standards,” he says of event planners. “It’s going to be a much different world as we come out of this, but we will come out of this.”

90.5 WESA’s arts and culture reporter Bill O’Driscoll explains how major festivals decided whether to postpone and which events Pittsburghers might be able to look forward to as the weather warms.

How does coronavirus weigh on voters' minds?
(11:07 — 18:02) 

The 2020 presidential race dominated the country’s attention in January and February – until the coronavirus arrived. 

As part of the Split Ticket series, 90.5 WESA’s Lucy Perkins talks to four western Pennsylvania voters about the candidates and issues that could sway their decision at the ballot box. All say they’re now quarantined at home. 

Perkins reports the threat of COVID-19 has changed everything—except opinions about President Trump.

90.5 WESA’s Julia Zenkevich contributed to this report. 

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.