Coronavirus concerns take a toll on local businesses

Posted March 14, 2020 9:57 a.m. EDT
Updated March 15, 2020 11:45 a.m. EDT

— The coronavirus is impacting businesses not only globally, but right here in the Triangle.

On Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced a state of emergency in North Carolina as coronavirus concerns continue to grow. Since his announcement, many popular local events, including the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Downtown Raleigh, have been canceled.

Local businesses consistently look forward to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade as it draws thousands of spectators and is a big moneymaker. This year, however, such businesses will not witness added economic returns due to growing concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

Clyde Cooper’s Barbeque is one such local business seeing fewer customers and catering orders.

“As of yesterday we had four caterings to cancel," Debbie Holt, owner of the barbecue joint, said Friday. "That’s highly unusual with these people that we had booked.”

Clyde Cooper’s Barbeque

Holt is also disappointed that the St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been canceled. She discussed how it will negatively impact the pace of her business.

“It will be definitely slower. Because anytime a parade is here, we have them out the door,” Holt said. “So that won’t be happening, and that’s disappointing because it’s a lot of fun.”

Businesses have additionally modified their operations to ensure the safety of their customers by keeping stock of Clorox and providing items like disposable utensils.

“We have implemented some new things,” Holt said. “We used to give them, you know, regular forks. Now, we do poly-wrapped individual utensils.”

While many businesses, including gyms, have seen dwindling attendance, one gym in particular has been able to hold its own.

“We have anywhere from 50 to 60 guests who try us out a month. So far we’ve already hit that number coming into the 12th of March,” said Bain Floyd, the general manager at HOTWORX, a hot gym in Raleigh. “So basically, it’s kind of impacted us in a positive way.”

Floyd said the the infrared energy and heat at the hot gym may create a safe environment. He thinks it could fight the negative effects of the coronavirus.

“We recommend always a temperature of about 120 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit,” Floyd said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, says it is not clear yet if temperature and weather impact the spread of this particular strain of the virus.

Other companies have not been so fortunate. They’re hoping to survive the coming weeks and are very focused on prioritizing the safety and well-being of their customers over economic returns.

“A dollar is important, but it’s not as important as somebody’s lives or keeping everybody safe,” Holt said.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.