BizWorthy

A weekly feature with the Charlotte Ledger's Tony Mecia that discusses all things in the business world in Charlotte.

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According to an analysis of court filings by the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter, there were more divorces on record in June in Mecklenburg County and across North Carolina than any of the previous 12 months. 

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Classes at UNC Charlotte began this week. They’re all online for the first three weeks of the semester because of the pandemic. The school plans to bring students back for in-person class beginning Oct. 1. Other schools in the state that began with in person instruction like UNC Chapel Hill and NC State University quickly switched to all-remote classes after identifying several coronavirus clusters among students.  

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More businesses can partially reopen in North Carolina beginning Friday when the state enters Phase 2.5 of reopening. Those businesses include gyms and fitness centers, which can reopen at 30% capacity. Some gyms, though, have already reopened in defiance of Gov. Roy Cooper's order closing them in the spring. And others were planning to reopen even before Cooper made the announcement this week about the move to Phase 2.5.

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Here’s a change from earlier this summer: You might actually have to wait for a table if you go out to eat in Charlotte. The number of people dining out has risen sharply the past few weeks.  

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People are experiencing the pandemic in very different ways. That's particularly apparent when it comes to the housing market in Charlotte. Home prices are soaring and many are snatched up in a few hours. At the same time, the demand for rental assistance is high. The Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter reported on those dynamics this week. We talk to the Ledger's Tony Mecia for our segment, BizWorthy.

Atrium Health

Atrium Health has unveiled more details, including a rendering, of the medical school it plans to operate in Charlotte through a partnership with Wake Forest Baptist Health and Wake Forest University. It would be Charlotte’s first medical school in more than 100 years.  

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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.

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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.

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.

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. 

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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.

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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

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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.

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.

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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.

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. 

UNSPLASH

More than 300,000 unemployment claims have been filed in North Carolina since mid-March and nearly all them are related to the coronavirus.    

Joe O'Connor / WFAE

Mecklenburg County's "stay at home" order goes into effect Thursday morning. That means more businesses will be feeling the pain. Under the order, only businesses that provide what are considered "essential" services can still operate. That includes, among other things, doctor's offices, pharmacies, grocery stores and banks. It also allows restaurants to continue providing takeout and delivery.

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Bars and restaurants across the Carolinas face a lot of uncertainty after the governors in both states ordered them to close in-house dining and offer only takeout and delivery. 

NICK DE LA CANAL / WFAE

One of Charlotte’s largest employers, Bank of America, has announced several measures aimed at preventing the spread of the new coronavirus. In a companywide email this week, the bank said its increasing what it called “deep cleanings” at its offices, limiting international travel, and directing employees who could have been exposed to the virus to work from home.

GOOGLE STREET VIEW

One of Charlotte’s airports is closing. OK, you’re probably saying right now, "Wait, Charlotte has more than one airport?" It does. Wilgrove Airport off Albemarle Road near I-485 in east Charlotte opened in the late 1960s and has been home to the city’s only flight school as well as being a hangout for recreational pilots. It’s closing this spring to make way for development.

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention / CDC.gov

Coronavirus not only has people around the world worried, but also businesses – including some here in the Charlotte area. Companies like and Lowe’s and Honeywell get some of their products and materials from China, where the virus has led to the deaths of about 2,000 people and caused major disruptions. 

Town of Matthews / Facebook

There’s a new nightlife hotspot in Mecklenburg County that may surprise you: Matthews. 

What used to be a sleepy suburb is transforming itself into a destination for those looking to avoid uptown or South End. And now there are plans to turn an old warehouse in downtown Matthews into restaurants, offices and shops. 

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