All or Nothing? Partial Business Shutdowns and COVID-19 Fatality Growth

36 Pages Posted: 5 May 2021

See all articles by Matthew I. Spiegel

Matthew I. Spiegel

Yale University - Yale School of Management, International Center for Finance

Heather Tookes

Yale University - Yale School of Management; Yale University - International Center for Finance

Date Written: April 28, 2021

Abstract

Using a hand-collected database of partial business closures for all U.S. counties from March through December 2020, we examine the impact of capacity restrictions on fatality growth due to COVID-19. For the restaurant and bar sector, we find that several combinations of partial capacity restrictions are as effective as full shutdowns. Point estimates indicate that, for the average county, limiting restaurants to 25% of capacity and bars to outdoor service reduces the fatality growth six weeks ahead by approximately 41% while completely closing them reduces fatality growth by about 32%. For gyms, we find that, while full closures reduce the COVID-19 fatality growth rate, partial closures may be counterproductive relative to leaving capacity unrestricted. For salons and other personal services, we find mixed evidence that limiting them to 25% of capacity reduces fatalities. However, other constraints are either ineffective or even counterproductive.

Keywords: COVID-19, business closures, business openings

JEL Classification: I18, D60, E65

Suggested Citation

Spiegel, Matthew I. and Tookes, Heather, All or Nothing? Partial Business Shutdowns and COVID-19 Fatality Growth (April 28, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3835510 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3835510

Matthew I. Spiegel (Contact Author)

Yale University - Yale School of Management, International Center for Finance ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
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203-432-6017 (Phone)
203-432-8931 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://som.yale.edu/~spiegel

Heather Tookes

Yale University - Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

Yale University - International Center for Finance ( email )

Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520
United States

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