How Coronavirus is Affecting Business(es) in Florida

Downwntown Business District in Tampa, Florida, United States. Photo: Ruth Peterkin/

The coronavirus health crisis is being viewed as an economic threat to Florida. 

The coronavirus has been wreaking havoc not just in those affected by the virus themselves, but in the news headlines. For months now there have been reports of people in places like Italy, Iran and South Korea getting infected with the disease. Ever since the initial breakout happened in China, it seems there is no escaping this deadly virus.

Businesses all over the world see themselves affected by this epidemic due to many countries doing trade business with China. The U.S. is no different. Here, we take a look at Florida and how it’s being affected by the spread of the coronavirus. In the following paragraphs, we look at three different businesses and/or industries being rocked by this viral infection here in the Sunshine State.


Jabil manufacturing facility in Silicon Valley, California, United States on September 19, 2019. Photo: Sundry Photography/

Headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL, Jabil Inc. is an American company providing supply chain and logistic services and design engineering services. Jabil makes a huge range of products, including smartphones, appliances, medical devices, data centers, product packaging and electronics for the automotive, aerospace, industrial, energy and consumer goods sectors.

(Jabil) facilities include a 186,000-square-foot factory at the Great Wall of Innovation and Technology Park in Wuhan, China (ground zero for the spread of the coronavirus). 

As one of the Tampa Bay area’s largest public companies, Jabil said on February 25 the outbreak has slowed its electronics factories in the affected part of China to 65 to 70 percent of normal output.

Florida’s Lobster Industry

Despite being 9,000 miles away, what happens in China can greatly affect other parts of the world. As previously mentioned, China trades with countries all over the world.  The coronavirus is causing the lobster season to end early for the lobstermen of the Florida Keys.

Caribbean Spiny Lobster, also known as the Florida Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus), inhabits tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Photo: DnDavis/

With the virus spreading across China, commercial flights from the United States were recently halted. But even before the airlines stopped flying, the major buyers in China were canceling orders for Florida’s spiny lobster. Fear surrounding the virus was hitting the country’s economy and keeping people out of restaurants.

Rows of lobster tails displayed on ice waiting to be sold. Photo: Jillian Cain Photography/

In China, Florida lobster is a delicacy believe it or not. It is often the star of any significant event or dinner. Florida lobster is very popular for the Chinese New Year and the bottom dweller may find itself as the main course on a dinner plate for said holiday. For Florida’s lobstermen, this is when prices soar.

The latest problem for lobstermen, however, is the spread of the coronavirus in China. The men are still recovering from having their traps destroyed during Hurricane Irma. High tariffs imposed by the Chinese government on their lobsters due to the trade war with the United States is another problem for the lobstermen.

Stacked wooden lobster pots, or traps, with ropes and buoys, in Key West, Florida, United States. Photo: Chuck Wagner/

Any business relying on exporting goods to China is facing problems. Because of the coronavirus, China has stopped importing Gooey Duck and Dungeness Crab from the Pacific Northwest, as well as the more traditional lobster from the Northeast and Canada.

Chinese Businesses 

Taste of Chendu is a restaurant on West Colonial Drive in Orlando that serves authentic Chinese food. Despite this, the restaurant is having trouble getting customers to come into the restaurant to eat. This is because of – you guessed it- the fear of the coronavirus. Many Orlando residents and visitors alike are concerned with eating in a Chinese restaurant which will likely have food or products made in or from China. 


Other restaurants in the Mills 50 District said that in the last two weeks, business has been down anywhere between 20 to 30 percent, and they do believe it’s because of people being mindful or afraid of the coronavirus. 

The Florida industries considered in “danger” of being affected are its 14 million international visitors a year, its cruise ship industry, its manufacturing sector and its import and export business.

Partly as a result, the chances of Florida going into a recession in the next nine months have risen to 24 percent, according to Jerry Parrish, the chief economist for the Florida Chamber Foundation.