Now that many businesses in Texas are slowly reopening, the idea that we are on the way to returning to something even somewhat normal might be on the minds of many people.

Maybe so, but it looks to be a long, long road to travel.

The latest economic report showed the U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8 percent annual rate during the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country.

Consider this: During that first quarter, most businesses and industries were operating, although in many cases with reduced sales and production, during January and February. March is when the door slammed shut on the economy.

But economists point to expected coronavirus flare-ups that could force reopened businesses to shut down again or keep some closed businesses from reopening at all. With so much of the economy paralyzed, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the economy this quarter will shrink 40 percent.

Island businessman Tilman Fertitta predicted Galveston Island’s economy won’t fully recover until 2022. We fear he might have hit the nail on the head.

“Things are going to be different for a long time,” Fertitta told The Daily News on Wednesday.

Adding to the coronavirus effect on the economy, the oil industry took a huge hit in the first quarter. But the industry was facing challenges even before the coronavirus swept in.

Prices were low because of a trade war between the United States and China. As lockdowns began to increase around the world because of the spread of the coronavirus, oil use plummeted and prices fell. Then Saudi Arabia, in a power struggle with Russia, began flooding the market with oil, pushing prices down even further.

Locally, Kemah’s economy has been devastated during the coronavirus outbreak. The city has the Kemah Boardwalk complex and largely is defined as a dining, shopping and entertainment destination — sales and beverage taxes make up more than 85 percent of the city’s annual budgeted tax revenues.

With the businesses in the city slowly being able to reopen at reduced capacities — to ensure that social distancing requirements are met, restaurants are only allowed to seat 25 percent of their maximum capacity — a quick turnaround of the city’s economy seems unlikely.

While a quick rebound has not been ruled out — anything can happen — the likelihood of a long recovery is the vastly greater outlook.

Get ready, at least economically, for the long haul.

• Dave Mathews

Dave Mathews: 409-683-5258;

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(53) comments

Bailey Jones

I wonder. Driving around Galveston on Friday it looked like any other May 1st - crowded. It would seem like there are two polar possibilities. First, if the coronavirus is really no big deal, as so many conservatives and libertarians tell us, then there will be no spike in new cases over the next two weeks, and by the end of May, the economy, at least in Texas, will be fully opened, just in time for summer. On the other hand, if the worst predictions of the medical community come true, new cases will spike and the virus will burn through the hinterland and the economy will shutdown again - either voluntarily, as employers try to protect their employees, or through another government mandate. If I was someone who was hoping for the first outcome (and I am), I would take whatever measures I could in order to tip the balance that way - and that means wearing a mask, planning my shopping to minimize the number of trips I have to take, and avoiding crowds.

Ray Taft

A faster recovery would be much more possible if the do-nothing Democrats would stop being obstructionists. That’s a no-brainer.

Speaker Nancy ‘ice cream eating’ Pelosi and her band of obstructionist Democrats are unwilling to help anyone but themselves.

Too bad the MSM kisses up to the do-nothing obstructionist Democrats, instead of looking out for America. The media act as Trump-hating protagonists instead of reporting facts. And that’s why so many people believe that the MSM is the enemy of the people.

Bailey Jones

You know, Ray - there's nothing wrong with learning more than one song. I mean, everybody likes "Freebird", but...

Jim Forsythe

Ray, what does eating ice cream have to do with recovery? How many people believe that the MSM is the enemy of the people? How can anyone be a do-nothing and be an obstructionist, as this would require them to do something?

Dan Freeman

Ice cream eating Pelosi is better than burger binging Trump. She at least prays for her enemies. The latter problem could not pray if he tried.

Carlos Ponce

Trump shared his burgers with several football teams. Did Nancy share her ice cream????

Jim Forsythe

Trump entertained the College Football Playoff National Champions, the CLEMSON TIGERS, with fast food. This is how you want your President to honor the National Champions?

Nancy's icecream is for herself, family, and her guest.

What problem is there with someone having the type of ice cream they want in their freezer?

I have cheese that costs more than what her ice creme cost, and that is what a person should do, have the brand of product they want in their house.

Carlos Ponce

"This is how you want your President to honor the National Champions?"

That's what they wanted. They enjoyed it! But Jim doesn't care what THEY want.

6'4", 310-pound lineman Matt Bockhorst is pictured piling Big Macs on his plate with a grin on his face.

Matt Bockhorst✔@MattBockhorst I mean you’re not just gonna NOT eat the Big Macs stacked in a pile right? Pocketed two chicken wraps and a quarter pounder.

"Clemson's Matt Bockhorst loved the White House Big Macs"

From ESPN: "Some players 'whooped' when they saw the spread, according a pool report.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence commented the trip to the White House "It was awesome. We had McDonald's and everything. It was good!"

“I can’t believe this boy from Fayetteville, NC got to eat McDonald’s with his wife and some of his closest friends in the White House,” Miguel Chavis, Clemson football’s assistant for defensive player development, said in the post.

“The team loved it. The families loved it, and everyone was so hospitable and welcoming in the White House. It’s a pretty cool tradition that the National Champions get to visit the White House,” he wrote.

Nothing wrong with Nancy's ice cream, other than she does not share.

Jim Forsythe

"Nothing wrong with Nancy's ice cream, other than she does not share." How do you know, you been to her house? There was more than one flavor of ice cream because each person in a house and her guest may like different flavors.

Of all the football players I was around they preferred steak over fast food burgers, as they eat a lot of cheap burgers on campus. They were too polite to complain about what their host served.

Carlos Ponce

Are you saying she shared?

Jim Forsythe

If you saw her refrigerator, there were many flavors.

Carlos Ponce

Does she share?

Dan Freeman


Carlos Ponce

Does she give the homeless on the streets of her Congressional District ice cream?

Jim Forsythe

As Nancy and Paul Pelosi have five children: Nancy Corinne, Christine, Jacqueline, Paul, and Alexandra, as well as nine grandchildren the amount of ice cream is not much for each person. Just like you, I have no idea if she has ice cream parties for the homeless. Maybe in DC, she and Trump do it together.

Carlos Ponce

So, the homeless who lives blocks away from her official residence don't get ice cream.[sad]

Jim Forsythe

Just like you, I have no idea if she has ice cream parties for the homeless. Maybe in DC, she and Trump do it together.

Carlos Ponce

Marco Rubio opened his freezer and offered Nancy Pelosi ice cream.

Nancy Pelosi eats chocolate icecream for breakfast. "I don't see it as different from having a cup of coffee," Pelosi told Food & Wine, citing Three Twins' Bittersweet Chocolate and Double Rainbow's Ultra Chocolate as two of her favorites. "The flavors keep getting darker and darker, which I love." She even has a preferred vessel: "Sugar cones are my thing."

Biden has spent $10,600 on Nancy's favorite brand of ice cream but only gives it away to donors.

I wonder if Jim got his ice cream from Uncle Joe.[unsure]

Jim Forsythe

Since you know so much about Nancy Pelosi, how many calories does she take in a day? Does it matter what part of the day someone eats ice cream?

Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi like the same brand of ice cream and that's a crime? Joe Biden gives ice cream to his guest as a good host does.

I have never had an Uncle Joe! I do not require anyone to buy ice cream for me.

Carlos Ponce

And now Jim is disavowing his Uncle Joe! You probably don't claim an Uncle Sam either.

Jim Forsythe

I have no Uncle Joe or Sam. Why do you think you know the names of my Mother and Father, brothers?

Carlos Ponce

The term "uncle" is used on older men whom you respect. I guess Jim doesn't respect Uncle Joe.

Other definitions:

Used as a form of address for an older man

A kindly counselor.

a familiar title or term of address for any elderly man

Jim Forsythe

Unless someone is related to me by birth or marriage, they are not my Aunt or Uncle.

If I was ever to meet Joe Biden I would address his as Mr. Biden, Vice President Biden, or Mr. President.

The last depends if he wins in November.

Just as you talk about Uncle being a good thing it can also be used as a form of disrespect to others.

Carlos Ponce

Poor Uncle JOE!

Chuck DiFalco

"coronavirus flare-ups that could force reopened businesses to shut down again " Mr. Mathews, that is incorrect. The coronavirus doesn't force any business to shut down. People, namely governors, commissioners, mayors, and council members force businesses to shut down. Focusing on a mindless object deflects scrutiny from the critical decisions that people in authority make.

Terri Abraham

What about the meat factories, where so many employees are sick the owners had to shut them down?

Chuck DiFalco

The owners weren't forced to shut them down. They could run at half speed with fewer, distanced, workers with masks and with sanitation breaks. If they couldn't figure that out, there are people like me that can. The owners shut down their own businesses by their own choice.

Terri Abraham

Okay, we were using different interpretations of "forced".

I meant if there weren't enough people to run the business, due to sickness or fear of the virus, they wouldn't be able to operate at a level that would generate profit. If they lose money running the business, no point in running it.

The president tried to help by declaring it a vital (or whatever the term us) business, so if the employees get sick, they can't use the owners, to lessen their concerns of losing even more money...

Unions are saying that the employees health comes first, though, so good thing we have lots of fish, shrimp and crabs here.

Craig Mason

Then why aren’t the barber shops and gyms opening now?

Wayne D Holt

"While a quick rebound has not been ruled out — anything can happen... "

Dave, good piece and you had me up until the line above. In your heart of hearts I believe you know that a quick rebound is about as likely as the political class doing a mea culpa en masse on what we are now facing.

Our state, county and local politicians own this economic disaster lock, stock and barrel. And they own it because we know other states and communities chose NOT to force feed a depth charge to their citizens and call it necessary. Closures could have been graduated just like openings are. Asinine distinctions like it's OK to deliver a ham sandwich to the curb but you can't hand someone's groomed poodle back the same way. Or that it's in the interest of public health to close churches, open liquor stores and have a mass of people stare at forbidden empty beaches a few tantalizing yards away. Our politicians own every bit of that.

I have said and will continue to say, "Watch the narrative change from those who are responsible." They may not be able to identity DNA but they sure know CYA.

Gary Miller

Wayne> So true. Politicians are responceble for the shutdowns. Called"abundance of caution". Or fear of making mistakes. Instead of "do the right thing or do nothing". The shutdown is a mistake by politicians who will not take blame for their actions.

Gary Miller

The road to recovery will last until all understand the shutdown was the wrong thing to do. Democrat blue state governors and Mayors felt they needed a recession for political power. Lives were ruined, jobs were killed so Democrats might have a better chance on election day. The real things that helped was social distancing, avoiding crowds and wearing a mask in public if you know you are infected.

Bailey Jones

Gary, what two things do each of these states have in common?












New Hampshire



South Carolina




West Virginia

Give up? They all have Republican governors who implemented statewide emergency orders closing or restricting businesses in their state.

I rate your comment [thumbdown][thumbdown][thumbdown]

Jarvis Buckley

The road to recovery with President Trump at the helm looks good. Pretty, Pretty,Pretty good.👍

Dan Freeman

Jarvis Buckley writes: “The road to recovery with President Trump at the helm looks good. Pretty, Pretty,Pretty good.👍 “

President Trump in his own words:

Jan 22 “"We do have a plan and we think it's gonna be handled very well, we've already handled it very well.”

Jan 24 "China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. … In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!"

Jan 29 "Just received a briefing on the Coronavirus in China from all of our GREAT agencies, who are also working closely with China.”

Jan 31 President Trump bars non U.S. residents from China

Feb 7 "Just had a long and very good conversation by phone with President Xi of China. He is strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus.”

Feb 23 and 24 "The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.”

Feb 27 "It's going to disappear. One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear."

Feb 28 CDC led by Trump appointee admits initial tests were a fiasco.

Mar 2: “Yeah, I think where these people are flying, it's safe to fly. And large portions of the world are very safe to fly.”

Mar 6 "Anybody that wants a test can get a test. ... The tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect, the transcription was perfect, right?"

Mar 9 "So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!"

March 24 "I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter."

April 3: "I said it was going away - and it is going away."

May 4: "We're going to lose anywhere from 75-, 80- to 100,000 people.”

Great leadership President Trump. I hope you are correct or overestimating for once.

Bailey Jones

I think the grade you're looking for is A++++.

Carlos Ponce

"Jan 22 “'We do have a plan and we think it's gonna be handled very well, we've already handled it very well.'

The timeline begins much earlier with input from the experts including Dr. Fauci:

Jan 21 (THE DAY BEFORE TRUMP'S COMMENTS) : “Obviously, you need to take it seriously, and do the kinds of things that the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security are doing. But, this not a major threat for the people of the United States, and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.” - Dr Anthony Fauci to Greg Kelly on NewsMax.

So "the plan" was what Dr. Fauci told Greg Kelley which involved the CDC and DHS.

Jim Forsythe

Instead of blaming others, this is what a leader says.

Bush urged Americans to remember "how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat."

"In the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants. We are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God," Bush said. "We rise or fall together, and we are determined to rise."

Bush invoked Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in his message, noting that the U.S. has faced "times of testing before."

"Let's remember that the suffering we experience as a nation does not fall evenly. In the days to come, it will be especially important to care in practical ways for the elderly, the ill and the unemployed," he said.

Carlos Ponce

People see through false accepting of blame. It is PATRONIZING.

Should FDR have taken responsibility for the bombing of Pearl Harbor? He placed blame where it belonged.

Has Obama taken BLAME for Russian interference during the 2016 election? NO. In October 2016 he told Trump to "stop whining". But the interference occurred during his watch BEFORE the election. It happened during his watch.

Jim Forsythe

"Without belittling Republicans, throughout the 1930s he repeatedly appealed to isolationist members of both parties to awaken to the dangers of fascism. Then, nearly two years before the attack on Pearl Harbor, FDR brought two prominent Republicans, Henry Stimson and Frank Knox, into his Cabinet in a bid to unite the nation in support of his effort to prepare for war against Germany and Japan.

Stimson had served as secretary of War under one previous Republican president and secretary of State under another. Knox, a newspaper publisher and sharp critic of FDR’s New Deal, had run unsuccessfully as the GOP’s vice presidential candidate in 1936. Stimson was named secretary of War, and Knox, secretary of the Navy in June 1940. FDR said the appointments were aimed at building “national solidarity.”"

Has Trump done the same? Or has he divided us to the max?

Carlos Ponce

Bottom line, FDR did not take responsibility for the bombing of Peal Harbor because he was not responsible. Obama never took responsibility for Russian interference during his watch. Instead he told Trump to quit "whining".

Jim Forsythe

And Trump has not yet.

Carlos Ponce

And Trump should not.

Jim Forsythe

quit "whining"

Carlos Ponce

He never did whine. He was vocal on Obama's lackadaisical attitude towards election cycle integrity. Obama did not act until after Trump won. All along he believed Russians would push Hillary into the presidency.

Jim Forsythe

Trump “mailed ballots are corrupt.” and how did he vote mail-in ballot.

This is just one example of his whining.

Carlos Ponce

Not whining. Several of your fellow Leftist forum contributors have posted the same. Are you calling them "whiners" too?

Jim Forsythe

"You can tell the size of a man by the size of the things that make him mad." Adlai Stevenson

"No President has ever been enraged by smaller things than Donald Trump. No President has ever been as small as Donald Trump in every important sense of the word.

As we crossed 70,000 dead Americans, Donald Trump was up late. He was not worrying how to keep the number of dead Americans from hitting 100,000 by the end of the month. He was rage tweeting because a group of sane and disgusted Republican who are part of the "Lincoln Project" released an ad "There’s mourning in America." holding the President accountable for his utter failure to protect Americans.

Today, while 2,200 more Americans died. Donald Trump was still rage tweeting and boasting about his election win. He spent his time calling George Conway names."

Rage tweeting equals advance whining.

Carlos Ponce

Quit whining, Jim. Trump won and will win re-election.

Jim Forsythe

Trump and his whining include all his rants on twitter and his news get-togethers when if asked a question from a reporter he does not like, he goes in a rage and blames others. Extreme whining.

Be ready for a barrage of rants and extreme whining, if he does not win in November.

Carlos Ponce

Quit whining, Jim. Trump won and will win re-election.

Jim Forsythe

The only way Trump or Mr. Biden would know for a fact they will win if a fix is in. Are you saying a fix is in to make sure Trump wins?

The same is for the Senate, no one knows who will have the majority, until after the election.

Be ready for a barrage of rants and extreme whining, if Trump does not win in November.

Carlos Ponce

Does Jim really think Uncle Joe has a chance?

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