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How Did Uptown Businesses Fare During The Pandemic, And What's Uptown's Future?

Erin Keever

Thursday, April 1, 2021

The pandemic has changed Charlotte’s Center City. Businesses have closed, and office workers have been slow to return. It was a ghost town for the bulk of the pandemic, but signs of life are beginning to emerge.

After Gov. Roy Cooper's Executive Order No. 204, many restrictions are now easing, including allowing for indoor capacity to be at 75% at restaurants, breweries and gyms, and 100% capacity outdoors for those businesses. Bars and movie theatres can have up to 50% capacity for both indoors and outdoors.

In short: Businesses are now allowed to have more customers and things are starting to look up.

We're going to talkto a few business owners based in uptown and see how have fared during the pandemic. We're also going to sit down with a panel of experts, and ask how uptown changed throughout the year, the current state of our city's center and some future developments to look forward to.


Michael Smith, president and CEO of Charlotte Center City

Ely Portillo, assistant director of outreach & strategic for UNC Charlotte Urban Institute

James Bazzelle, owner of Mert's Heart & Soul

James Mack, owner of Epic Times Watches and Chains

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Dante Miller is a community engagement producer for WFAE and a Report for America (RFA) Corps members. Dante first joined WFAE in 2020 through RFA to work as part of a unique partnership with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Digital Public Library of America. Her work in that project allowed her to use radio, online stories, Wikipedia entries and events to meet the community's news and information needs.