Coronavirus stimulus checks could come as consumers disappear

Posted at 5:18 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 21:03:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diegans could be in store to begin receiving checks from the federal government in April, according to a proposal released Wednesday.

The proposal, from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, is part of a plan to stimulate the economy as the coronavirus outbreak continues to lead the nation toward a recession.

The checks, which could be upwards of $1,000 or more, could come in April and May. The money could help San Diego workers who are seeing their hours reduced or jobs eliminated get by while efforts continue to flatten the curve.


More than 350,000 workers in the county are in the leisure, hospitality and retail fields, which have been hit hard as consumers stay home, businesses close and conferences are canceled.

"It's not going to solve the problem, but the whole strategy here is to get over the hump and hope that like China and like South Korea and some of the other Asian countries, this virus will hang around for only two to three months," said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University.

The federal government last issued stimulus checks during the Great Recession of 2008, after the housing market crashed. The Bush Administration sent checks of up to $600 to individuals and up to $1,200 to married couples at a time when businesses were open, unlike during this era where there are very few places to spend the money.


"One of the problems is that people are approaching this using the tools and mindset that they had in previous downturns, whereas this situation now is completely different," said Alan Gin, an economist at the University of San Diego.

Gin said a good use of stimulus money would be for expanded unemployment benefits and for people who are most in need amid lost wages.

The proposal also includes $50 billion for the airline industry, and $300 billion in loans to allow small businesses to keep operating during this time.