It's hard to eat a meal with a mask on your face: Orazem

May 5, 2020

Dr. Peter OrazemPeter Orazem, university professor, was interviewed in a May 4 Des Moines Register story, "Iowa's restaurants, shops welcome chance to reopen, but many businesses and customers still on sidelines."

“It’s hard to eat a meal at a restaurant with a mask on your face,” noted Peter Orazem, a professor of economics at Iowa State University. “The parts of the economy that are face-to-face retail, I think, is going to be in for a long stretch before people are going to feel comfortable going to those places again.

“I think more restaurants are going to shift toward the ‘pizza model’ (delivery and pickup only). You’re certainly going to see businesses fail as a result of this pandemic."

“There are reasons why you want to allow the economy to progress in areas where it looks like the trade-off between the disease and the economy are less severe,” he said.

Peter Orazem, university professor, was also interviewed for the May 1 Ames Tribune story, "How the absence of an active university and its students looms large over Ames economy during COVID-19."

But the prolonged absence of ISU students can also be seen in Ames’ seasonal job market, said Peter Orazem, an economist at ISU and former Ames City Council member.

According to Orazem, over the last 10 years, between May and July, Ames has shed an average of 4,400 government jobs, but added 100 private-sector jobs. “On net, from September to September, Ames has added about 660 jobs per year with three-quarters of the growth in the private sector,” Orazem said. “One way of looking at what would happen if the COVID-19 significantly constrains the fall semester would be if that the rebound after summer does not occur.”

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