‘We’re in trouble right now,' Chamber of Commerce CEO says of San Antonio’s coronavirus-stricken economy

“The pandemic has really dealt a very strong blow to our gut. But... we’re resilient.”

SAN ANTONIO – Although San Antonio and Bexar County have seen a downward trend in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the past few months, the pandemic has taken a significant toll on the local economy.

President and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Richard Perez joined Leading SA Sunday to discuss the current economic situation and what comes next.

Well, we’re in trouble right now. The pandemic has really dealt a very strong blow to our gut. But I can tell you this — that we’re resilient and people are working hard. There’s opportunities for retraining and opportunities to do other jobs," Perez said. “There are jobs available right now... particularly in the aerospace industry, health care and biosciences industry and, of course, the cybersecurity industry. So I think there’s opportunities where we’re down, but we’re not out.”

Although many residents in Bexar County have filed for unemployment, Perez said there are other local opportunities, even if it may require a bit of additional training.

“Workforce Solutions Alamo just launched a new program on August 31st. They’ve got money, they’ve got the ability for people that are interested in getting retrained to teach you something different, something new... It depends on what you’re looking for, but you can be retrained up, skilled, and get a good job that’s in demand right now, today,” Perez said.

Despite the improvement in COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations, Perez said it could still be quite some time before the economy returns to how it was before the pandemic.

“So, getting back to normal, I think depending on the industry, we might be a year, a year and a half out,” Perez said. “But again, going back to what I said, we’re a very resilient city.”

You can watch the full Leading SA interview with Perez in the video player above.

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About the Authors:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.