MU Commencement economy

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COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri announced they will be postponing commencement. The ceremonies were originally scheduled for May 15-17.

In an email to the university community, Interim Chancellor Mun Choi said they will be holding a virtual celebration for graduates.

At this time, there is no replacement date for a future ceremony, but they will invite all graduates back to campus "at a later date to participate in a future ceremony," the email said.

A representative from the Columbia Chamber of Commerce said the announcement will likely affect businesses since it's usually a busy weekend in the area.

"Being a university town, commencement weekend is one of the big weekends in town without a doubt," Columbia Chamber of Commerce President Matt McCormick said. "Especially for our hotels and our restaurants, our downtown and our retail stores."

McCormick said he thinks it is unfortunate, but he said the university made the right decision for the town. 

"We hate to see that," he said. "But we applaud them for making sure to keep the safety and security of everyone in mind as the go through that. Because that does bring a lot of people in and out of the community and makes it a higher chance for the spread of the disease."

McCormick said he suspects most businesses will not be impacted any more than they already have been. 

"Talking to a lot of our hotels and restaurants, a lot of their impact has already taken place due to COVID-19," he said. 

He said most businesses have already had to "navigate through these waters" at this point and have likely already made several changes. McCormick also said the most important thing is that the community tries to support these businesses after things begin to settle. 

"[We need to be] working with them and making sure that we can do whatever we can to help them in that economic recovery process as we start getting to that relief and recovery stage of this," he said.