Local hotels booked as evacuees flee

With evacuations for the Carolina coastlines, evacuees are flooding to Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.-- As evacuations along the coast of the Carolinas continue, Charlotte area hotels are already filled.

Sid Smith, who heads the Charlotte Area Hotel Association, said, "We are full. That is the bottom line."

Smith said those trying to leave the coast now should call ahead and may not be able to find rooms in the immediate area.

"It is not just a Charlotte event. This is a regional thing and hotels all throughout the region are going to be full," Smith said.

The Charlotte-area has lost a lot of hotel bookings because of the fallout from House Bill 2 and the loss of events like the NBA All-Star Game and the NCAA and ACC championships.

While the revenue from those looking for shelter from Hurricane Matthew will help, Michael Smith from Charlotte Center City Partners said nobody wants to profit from the misery of others.

"We are disappointed for them and the circumstances that brought them to our city, but you watch, Charlotte will offer a lot of hospitality," Smith said.

A lot of rooms have already been taken by NASCAR fans who are in town for this weekend's big race, but those who have left their homes behind are not here for fun, and Michael Bennett, the General Manager of the Crowne Plaza hotel off of I-77, knows they will need special care and attention.

"They are not going to know what the impact of the storm is going to be on their personal belongings or if their home is going to actually be there. So we are very sensitive to that as well," he said.

There are about 4,600 hotel rooms in the immediate uptown area and 33,000 in the region.

Evacuees flee coast, head for Queen City

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hundreds of evacuees flood into the Queen City as Hurricane Matthew approaches.

“It’s just too unpredictable,” Stephanie Silva said.

She was evacuated from her home in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

“We just wanted to get out of harm's way and let the crew do what they have to do,” another Charleston evacuee said.

It isn’t just residents affected, some families were on vacation in South Carolina were told to leave.

“We actually live in Connecticut and San Francisco so we were driven out of our vacation house.”

Hotels in uptown and across the city are full.

"It is not just a Charlotte event. This is a regional thing and hotels all throughout the region are going to be full,” said Sid Smith with the Charlotte Area Hotel Association.

And popular restaurants are already seeing more business.

“We’re all looking forward to being some service to them and getting some business as well. Just welcoming our friends from the coast,” Poplar Street Café Owner Lucia Zapata Griffith said.

Many are unsure when they will return home and what will be there to greet them when they do.

“We’re supposed to check out Sunday but we may be seeing whether or not we might be able to possibly stay one more night,” Silva said.

If you cannot find or afford a hotel room the American Red Cross is opening 70 locations at schools and churches across the Carolinas.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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