2 November 1918
Considerable Loss Due to the
Closing Down During the Influenza Epidemic.
Merchants and businessmen in all the towns and cities of the country where the Spanish influenza is raging have suffered from a depression of trade amounting, in some lines and in some places to almost a complete suspension. In this city businessmen have been seriously affected by the epidemic, but they are bearing it in a philosophical way and awaiting the relief that is bound to come with the passing of the influenza wave.
The slump is more serious in non-essential lines or those handling goods which are not absolutely necessary to the people from day to day. Dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes, jewelry, etc,. can be done without for a time, at least, without great hardship and these trades are feeling the slump more keenly than dealers in goods that are daily necessities.
No one is complaining, however, and all expect a boom later which will repay them for their troubles.
The railroads are suffering as much as other lines of business and perhaps more. The electric railways running through the valleys and connecting up the suburban towns have suffered a slump of approximately 40 per cent in passenger traffic and this loss is total as it can never be made up. Lines within the city are also suffering in about the same proportion and the steam roads of the trans-continental systems feel the depression though possibly in a less degree.
The river steamers carrying passengers between Stockton and San Francisco report that their business remains about normal, possibly a little less than at the same time last year. The Colberg Motor Boat company, running to the islands, in the delta, report their passenger traffic keeping up well, but 50 per cent of their employes are down with the influenza, though they are still running their craft steadily and full handed.
People are not moving about but are staying closely at home, for many reasons. They do not wish to mix with people for fear of infection, or they are nursing some member of their family or their friends or possibly themselves and have enough to do to keep them at home.
In time of epidemics all health authorities advise people to mix with their fellows as little as possible, and this advice is being followed now, much to the detriment of business. The present depression is simply one phase of the influenza and as such must be borne as is the disease itself. Things will improve and are even on the upward trend as this is written.