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Arizona business community braces for impact of coronavirus on economy

PHOENIX – The Arizona business community is on high alert as the coronavirus outbreak’s impact on U.S. and global markets grows in scope and severity.

“This is an extremely important issue across the country and across the world, and certainly we need to make sure we’re doing our part to make sure Arizona’s prepared,” Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday morning.

He expressed optimism that the state was in a good position to absorb the inevitable blow with its strong economy and leadership.

“It’s very important for public officials of both parties, our health care officials and the broad-based business community — our education community — for all of us to unite on all levels so we can lick the coronavirus,” he said.

“And we can hopefully have a cure and figure out the best way to contain it and get back to regular programming, which for Arizona was as good as it’s ever been.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 10% on the week through Thursday and continued to plunge Friday, following months of uncertainty about the spread of the coronavirus, which started in Wuhan, China, in December.

As the potentially deadly virus made its way to more than 60 countries on every continent except Antarctica, more companies warned investors that their finances will take a hit because of disruptions to supply chains and sales.

“The spread has simply been too significant across the world and across the country to believe that it’s not going to impact Arizona in some meaningful way,” Hamer said.

He said state and national business leaders are mobilizing to respond to the threat.

“We’re going to stay extremely engaged,” he said.

“In fact, on the U.S. Chamber website there’s all sorts of information in terms of what companies are doing to help with respect to at least reducing the impact of the coronavirus.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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