‘Hanging on by a thread’; Several local businesses crippled by five-week Phase 2 extension in N.C.

Businesses hurting in Phase 2 of reopening

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Gym owners are trying to get creative in hosting workouts and bringing in income as they will have to wait at least another five weeks to open their doors again in North Carolina.

Wednesday, Governor Roy Cooper extended Phase 2 of his reopening plan.

The extension means gyms, bars, and music venues will still not be allowed to open. Restaurants, salons, and retail stores are still allowed to be open at 50 percent capacity, among other restrictions.

Thomas and Grace Gallagher co-founded the Charlotte-based company SweatNET. The company helps people connect to hundreds of gyms, studios, meal-prepping-businesses and other health and wellness companies.

They partner with more than 250 gyms in the Charlotte area. They say about five or six of their partnering studios have closed their doors for good.

“Everyone’s been kind of hanging on by a thread and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more go in this next month,” Grace Gallagher said.

SweatNET has been working with its partnering studios to continue bringing in revenue by hosting outdoor classes with social distance.

“Studios are looking for space outside. The issue is finding space. The parks aren’t necessarily always open because you have to pay to rent the parks,” Thomas Gallagher said.

“We’re just trying to get creative,” Grace Gallagher said.

Many gym owners were hopeful the local and state governments would provide them more support as they will be closed for about 171 days at the end of the five-week extension.

“No additional support given to these businesses and no guidance. There are lot of places that shut down already and with five more weeks, it’s very likely a lot more will close,” Thomas Gallagher said.

In Mecklenburg County, restrictions on restaurants are stricter than the rest of the state.

Mecklenburg County authorities issued an order to stop restaurants from serving alcohol past 11 p.m. Restaurants are also not allowed to open the bartops.

Cornelius, Huntersville, and now Mint Hill have opted out of the Mecklenburg County order.

Mark Etheridge is the owner of Stooge’s Pub and Grub in Mint Hill. His business has been open for 20 years.

He shut down for more than two and a half months but reopened when Governor Roy Cooper’s Phase 2 executive order went into place.

When Mecklenburg County issued a ban on alcohol sales past 11 p.m., Etheridge said he was forced to close his doors again. He says most of his business comes from the bar.

Mint Hill reversed coursed this week, opting out of the Mecklenburg County order.

Etheridge says the town’s decision to opt out put him in a position to open his doors again.

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