Mass event and travel cancellations will hit companies and the economy hard, but the short-term pain could enable both individual industries and the economy to recover faster if COVID-19 is quickly contained.

That’s the main takeaway for Canadians, according to Lisa Kramer, professor of finance at the University of Toronto.

Consumers and businesses cancelling or postponing travel plans and social gatherings will deal a serious blow to airlines, hotels, event planners and conference organizers, among others, Kramer said.

“But if we’re doing this right, this will be a relatively short-term phenomenon.”

The focus right now has to be on following the advice of health authorities, not only because the economy must take a backseat to the imperative of protecting the population but because business activity itself will benefit from a swift response to the virus, Kramer said.

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