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Metro Atlanta Avoids Storm, But Still Feels Economic Impact

By: Steven Senne, Associated Press

Metro Atlanta appears poised to bypass the brunt of Monday’s winter event. However, out of an abundance of caution, government and school officials ordered many nonessential workers to stay home. That caution will likely carry an economic impact.

Gov. Nathan Deal ordered all nonessential state workers in the affected areas, including those at the Capitol, to stay home.

“A large part of the message that came out of last year: err on the side of caution,” said Deal spokesman Brian Robinson. He was referring, of course, to January 2014 when ice left thousands of Georgians stranded on highways and in schools.

Deal’s cautious approach comes at a cost.

“If I didn’t go to work today and didn’t stop off for a cup of coffee, I’m not going to go buy two cups of coffee tomorrow,” said Evan Gold of the weather advisory firm Planalytics. “That is economic activity that just gets lost and won’t be able to be made up.”

When metro Atlanta shuts down due to weather, whether it materializes or not, Gold estimates a loss of $10 million per day in economic activity. However, Monday is President’s Day so many government buildings and businesses were already planning to close. And some schools and businesses opted to stay open anyway, despite the warnings. It all means the economic impact is probably a bit less than the $10 million figure, said Gold.

“It’s not a huge number in the grand scheme of things, but for small businesses and people who are losing hourly wages, it certainly matters to them,” said Gold.

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