CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Before you make any plans to visit your favorite hangout, you may want to check and make sure it’s still open. The list of area businesses and restaurants opting to temporarily close because an employee tested positive for COVID-19 continues to grow.
Earlier in December, Town Brewing Company and Common Market South End posted on social media that they would be temporarily closed after staff members tested positive for the virus.
Common Market owner Graham Worth said it’s been a struggle running a business during a pandemic, but he feels closing for a few days was the right decision.
“This is a big hit from a financial standpoint, but it was more important for us to measure the safety of our customers and more so, our employees,” he said.
Other places that have had to temporarily close after workers tested positive include Thomas Street Tavern and The Workman’s Friend in Plaza Midwood, Birdsong Brewing in NoDa, the Gin Mill in South End and Brewers at 4001 Yancey.
Businesses that are temporarily closed include:
- Crunkleton Charlotte - reopening Dec. 23
- Dot Dot Dot - reopening Dec. 19
- Amélie’s French Bakery & Café NoDa location
- The Artisan’s Palate - closed Dec. 21 through Jan. 5
- Lost and Found Lounge - closed indefinitely
- Sycamore Brewing - taproom closed until further notice. Open limited hours for pickup and delivery.
- VBGB Beer Hall & Garden - closed through Feb. 1
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery was also temporarily closed after a team member there tested positive for COVID-19 but has reopened.
In October, the Mecklenburg County Health Department linked several positive cases to Olde Meck after more than 1,000 people attended the brewery’s annual Mecktoberfest event.
The brewery worked with officials to host a free COVID-19 testing event at that time.
Recently, VBGB Beer Hall & Garden and Sycamore Brewing both announced that they will pause operations until next year.
VBGB said its temporary closure, which starts Sunday, is due to limited operating capabilities because of state COVID-19 regulations.
Sycamore cited cold weather since it’s been offering limited outdoor-only seating during the pandemic.
The 704 Shop in South End also recently announced they will be closed for in-person shopping indefinitely to keep its staff members safe as positive cases continue to rise.
The clothing store’s co-owner, Chris Moxley, said this is a time when they usually get a lot of walk-in business.
“We definitely feel like we’re making the right decision. Whether it’s the right decision financially or not remains to be seen,” he said.
Customers can still order online for home delivery or curbside pickup.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s latest executive order requires restaurants to close for in-person dining at 10 p.m. and alcohol sales to be cutoff at 9 p.m. It also limits gatherings both indoors and out and requires everyone to wear a mask inside when they’re around members of more than one household. The order runs through Jan. 8.
December delivered a double whammy to Charlotte’s restaurant and brewery scene with mounting holiday party cancellations and the arrival of cooler temperatures.
That means millions of dollars in lost business over the upcoming weeks for a sector trying to find its footing as the pandemic stretches on— and the potential for a second shutdown looms.
“December is driven by parties,” said John Love, founder and co-owner of Red Rocks Cafe, which has three locations in the Charlotte market. “It’s our prime time. It’s kind of our bread and butter.”
A typical December would see multiple parties each day. Now, Love is bracing to lose $450,000 in holiday business -- or about 50% of its regular December business.
“It’s not an economic decision. It’s a safety decision,” Love said. “People don’t want to come.”
A busy holiday season helps erase debt accumulated during the year and sets the tone for the upcoming one. Love said day-to-day sales are currently off 40%.
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