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Gov. Roy Cooper has again extended Phase 2 restrictions. Bars, gyms and entertainment venues in North Carolina will have to remain closed for at least another month. In making the announcement Wednesday, Cooper said while the state's coronavirus trends are stabilizing, he wants to see them decline before moving into Phase 3. For more on the impact to businesses, we turn to Tony Mecia of the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter for our segment, BizWorthy.

Centene rendering
City of Charlotte

Insurance giant Centene passed up a much more lucrative offer to put its regional headquarters just over the border in South Carolina. The company, which announced this month it will build the facility in Charlotte's University City area, qualifies for up to $450 million in state and local incentives. Public records show South Carolina and York County offered twice that much in an attempt to get the development project.


With the start of school just a few weeks away, it's time for back-to-school shopping. Usually that means getting new clothes, backpacks, notebooks and pencils. But there are some big changes this year in what parents are buying as students prepare to learn remotely because of the coronavirus.


It's been four months now since North Carolina shut down for the coronavirus. And though a lot of businesses have reopened, many are struggling, trying to get by with fewer customers and sales. Shanté Williams represents many small business owners as chair of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce. We spoke with her in late April, just after Gov. Roy Cooper extended the stay-at-home order. And we're checking in with her now.

Bank Of America Sees Recessionary Impacts 'Deep Into 2022'

Jul 16, 2020
Erin Keever / WFAE

NEW YORK  — Bank of America's second-quarter profits were sawed in half and the consumer banking giant set aside billions of dollars to cover potentially bad loans caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hattie's Tap and Tavern / Facebook

Bars and gyms in North Carolina will remain closed for at least another three weeks. Gov. Roy Cooper is extending Phase 2 of his reopening plan, which had been set to expire Friday. The governor said while the state's coronavirus numbers are not spiking, it's still too soon to move into Phase 3 when bars and gyms -- and also movie theaters and entertainment venues -- would be allowed to reopen. For more, we turn to Tony Mecia of the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter for our segment BizWorthy.

Centene Corp.

Charlotte just got a huge jobs announcement. St. Louis-based insurance giant Centene Corp. says it will open an East Coast headquarters in the University City area and add at least 3,200 jobs. The state has approved $439 million in incentives for the project, making it the largest such grant in state history.

An architect's drawing shows the planned Centene Corp. campus in University Research Park.
Centene Corp.

Managed health care giant Centene Corp. says it will build a $1 billion East Coast headquarters and technology hub in northeast Charlotte. The company expects to hire about 3,200 people over the next 12 years, and that could nearly double in the future.

Jodie Valade / WFAE

Beginning Friday evening at 5, North Carolina residents will have to wear face masks in public. Gov. Roy Cooper made that announcement Wednesday. He also said the state will not move into Phase 3 of reopening this weekend. And that means bars, gyms and movie theaters must remain closed. Restaurants will have to continue to limit their dining room capacity to 50%. Those restrictions will stay in place for at least another three weeks.

The former Eastland Mall site is now just empty parking lots and fences.
David Boraks / WFAE

Two major development projects in Charlotte are moving forward. City Council this week approved a rezoning of the old Eastland Mall site. It will be turned into a mixed-use development with shops, restaurants, homes and the headquarters for Charlotte’s new MLS team. Council also approved Atrium Health’s plan to massively expand its Dilworth campus to add a hospital tower, apartments and a medical school. 


One of Charlotte’s most well-known restaurants, Carpe Diem, this week announced it’s closing permanently after 30 years and blamed the decision on the coronavirus. One of the owners said in a statement the restaurant lost a lot of money during the shutdown and that reopening would be a “big financial investment that would likely lose.” Last week, the uptown barbecue restaurant Queen City Q announced its closing, citing the coronavirus, the ongoing protests and a stripped-down Republican National Convention. 

David Boraks / WFAE

Protesters have taken to the streets of Charlotte over the police killing of George Floyd now for six straight days. The demonstrations have largely remained peaceful during the day but have turned violent at night. In the chaos, several businesses uptown have suffered damage like busted doors and shattered windows. 

The Gin Mill
The Gin Mill / Facebook

President Trump’s threat to move the Republican National Convention from Charlotte this August is stirring uncertainty among local businesses. Many are counting on the financial windfall that comes with having the tens of thousands of delegates and other visitors in town that week. 

7th Street Public Market
James Willamore / Flickr

Restaurants in North Carolina can reopen their dining rooms this weekend. Barbershops and hair salons can also reopen. It’s part of Phase 2 of Gov. Roy Cooper’s reopening plan. Those businesses will have to limit the number of customers inside at one time. They’ll also have to implement social distancing measures.

Mike Petrucci / Unsplash

It's been almost a week since many retailers in North Carolina were allowed to reopen as the state moved into Phase 1 of Gov. Roy Cooper's reopening plan. They must limit the number of customers inside at one time and also make sure customers are spaced six feet apart. Mecklenburg County has recommended stores turn away customers who aren't wearing masks but stopped short of mandating it.

Kevin laminto / Unsplash

North Carolina will gradually start to reopen Friday at 5 p.m. That’s when Phase 1 of Gov. Roy Cooper’s three-phase plan to reopen the state takes effect. Most retailers will be allowed to reopen. But they must limit the number of customers inside and also implement social distancing measures

Claire Donnelly / WFAE


A small table with a bottle of hand sanitizer and a box of face masks sits at the entrance to Paper Skyscraper in Charlotte. Bright orange signs read, “Please use hand sanitizer,” and “Please take a mask.”

open sign
Photo by Kevin Bidwell from Pexels

Some businesses in Mecklenburg County that had been forced to close because of the coronavirus can reopen Thursday. The county's stay-at-home order was lifted Wednesday and Mecklenburg is now under just the statewide stay-at-home order, which is less restrictive.

closed sign
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Gov. Roy Cooper's decision to extend his stay-at-home order is tough to accept for many small business owners, even if they understand the reasoning behind it. Shante Williams represents many small business owners as chair of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce.

Photo by Luis Melendez on Unsplash

Here’s a profession seeing layoffs amid the coronavirus pandemic that’s surprising: doctor. The cuts come as hospitals have shifted much of their resources to fighting COVID-19 and increasing telehealth, while scaling back on nonessential procedures. Hospitals also say fewer patients are coming for in treatment unrelated to the coronavirus out of fear they may contract the virus. 

For more on this and other business news we turn now to Tony Mecia of the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter for our segment BizWorthy.

Truist Financial's headquarters is the Truist Tower in uptown Charlotte, formerly the Hearst Tower.
chucka_nc / flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Charlotte-based Truist Financial Corp. cut 800 jobs across the company during the first three months of the year. That came as the sixth largest U.S. bank started cutting costs following last year’s merger of SunTrust and BB&T.

Mecklenburg Plans Business Panel To Examine Reopening

Apr 19, 2020
Brittani Burns / Unsplash

Mecklenburg County is making plans to assemble a panel of business leaders and government officials to assess how the economy can reopen amid the uncertainty surrounding the spread of COVID-19.

Hundreds of thousands of workers are now finding themselves out of work and filing for unemployment. North Carolina has made changes to get money into people’s hands and federal dollars are on the way. How do you know if you qualify and what can you expect? 

Mick Haupt / Unsplash

Stores that are still open in North Carolina are now under more restrictions due to the coronavirus.  Per an order from Gov. Roy Cooper that took effect Monday, they have to limit the number of people inside at one time to only 20% of the fire code capacity. They also must physically mark six-foot distances at checkout lines and routinely clean their facilities.

Bank of America headquarters rises above an empty North Tryon Street at mid-afternoon on Friday, March 27.
David Boraks / WFAE

Bank of America's first-quarter profit fell 45% from a year ago, as the bank boosted reserves to cover expected loan losses by $3.6 billion. CEO Brian Moynihan says the country is at war with the coronavirus, and the bank is making sure employees can keep doing their jobs.

As Charlotte-Area Hospitals Restrict Visitors, Expectant Moms Push For Alternatives

Apr 9, 2020
Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter

Amanda Houseknecht of Matthews originally planned to deliver her baby at Atrium Health Pineville, with her mom, the baby’s father and her doula by her side.

loan applications

The clock is ticking for many small businesses hoping to stay afloat through COVID-19 shutdowns. Banks have received hundreds of thousands of applications to tap $349 billion set aside by stimulus bills. And the program was only launched Friday. If used mostly to retain workers or rehire them, those loans don't have to be paid back. The program is managed by the Small Business Administration. Thomas Stith III is the SBA director for North Carolina.

Charlotte skyline
Erin Keever / WFAE

A new federal loan program for small businesses affected by the coronavirus began last Friday. It’s part of the $2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress and is designed to help businesses struggling right now stay afloat. But some Charlotte businesses say applying for one of the loans so far has been anything but smooth. 

The Westin Hotel in uptown Charlotte has been empty in recent weeks.
David Boraks / WFAE

The Westin Hotel in uptown Charlotte is usually busy at this time of year with spring travelers and conventions, including those at Charlotte Convention Center across the street. But the coronavirus has changed everything. 


Phil Levine, the owner of Phil’s Deli in Charlotte, is usually busy this time of year cooking big batches of brisket, chopped liver and matzo ball soup for customers to pick up, take home and share with their families during the Passover seder. This year, Levine said he has about 80% less holiday business.