--> Gill Blog: The Impact of SARS on Business

Gill Blog

Monday, May 05, 2003

The Impact of SARS on Business

It will be a while before governments around the world are able to quantify the economic costs of the SARS epidemic. This article,recently published in Australia's News Interactive, was one of the first that attempted to project the costs of the outbreak. Another article, published recently by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, begins to identify the quantifiable components of the outbreak, and thus provides a starting point for measuring issues such as lost days of work or decreases in productivity.

The costs of such epidemics will be paid for either by taxpayers or companies in the private sector. Given our own experiences in Toronto, how might new real estate planning initiatives mitigate some of the risks associated with unexpected events such as SARS? These issues provide the basis for a discussion that ultimately moves toward an organization's locational strategy.

The optimistic nature of CEOs is reflected in the following survey that was reported in today's National Post. The estimated cost of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington have been conservatively estimated to be in the range of $35-$55 billion: the preliminary estimates of the SARS epidemic on Toronto is about $1 billion, over 50% of which is attributable to lost tourism revenues. Isn't it just too early to measure the total costs and the real impact on business?

The total impact might be an interesting statistic, but aren't the real costs to individual businesses what concerns executives more? Costs might vary from company to company, depending on how executives prepare for their own business continuity in the face of the unexpected.

Please join the discussion about the impact of SARS on business.


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