We do not know what havoc the virus may yet wreak in Juneau, but we do know some things. The edict issued by the Canadian government barring cruise ships from Canadian ports until at least July 1 coupled with the Jones Act in this country likely means no cruise ships in Juneau until at least July 1. Even after that, with the pandemic still spreading and the warning against cruise ship travel issued by the Center for Disease Control, this year’s cruise season may effectively be over before it begins. And even after that, next year and the year after that, things will likely not be the same. As it turns out, cruise ships can be dangerous to your health. Indeed, what we have come to know as the cruise industry may collapse.
And so we had better get started picking up the pieces. This is the new reality. This town’s economy has contracted in the blink of eye, just as the global economy has contracted. The City and Borough of Juneau will have to begin making decisions about carrying on with significantly less revenue. A fair number of tourist businesses, including retail stores, will likely fail. And to compound things, the price of oil may stay below $30/barrel for a very long time.
I hope that we can pull together, like towns in the Midwest devastated by a tornado. There is almost no other choice.