BREAKING: No more dining out at restaurants

Today is Tuesday, March 17, 2020, and we’re coming to you with HOT BREAKING NEWS.

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Gov. Cooper says dining rooms must shut by 5 p.m. today; Take-out and delivery still OK

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper is directing all of the state’s bars and restaurants to close their dining rooms by 5 p.m. today, an escalation of the shutdowns taking place all over Charlotte.

Take-out and delivery are still permitted, and many local restaurants have tried in the last few days to convert their operations to accommodate the reality that people are going to be eating almost every meal at home for who-knows-how-long.

Big sector of economy: The Ledger reported this morning that an estimated 147,000 people in the Charlotte region work in leisure and hospitality, or about 12% of the workforce. Many of those jobs seem likely to disappear until the coronavirus threat passes.

The bigger issue: For the economy, the larger question is how much the near-total shutdown of the restaurant, brick-and-mortar retail and travel industries in the U.S. will spread to other sectors. Local business leaders contacted by The Ledger this week mostly said it is too early to know and depends on how long the crisis drags on.

Many local companies seem to be waiting to see how the situation plays out. Some are pausing planned hiring and expansions. Others connected to the industries that are most affected — companies that sell to restaurants or hold their leases, for instance — could start experiencing troubles sooner.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported:

The move aims to lessen the spread of the coronavirus by limiting interactions between large groups of people. A number of other states have issued similar orders, including New York and Ohio.

Cooper said his executive order would be effective at 5 p.m. Tuesday and would also include an expansion of unemployment insurance.

Today, St. Patrick’s Day, would normally have been a big day for Charlotte’s bars and restaurants.

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The Charlotte Ledger is an e-newsletter and web site publishing timely, informative, and interesting local business news and analysis Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, except holidays and as noted. We strive for fairness and accuracy and will correct all known errors. The content reflects the independent editorial judgment of The Charlotte Ledger. Any advertising, paid marketing, or sponsored content will be clearly labeled.

Editor: Tony Mecia; Contributing editor: Tim Whitmire