CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing small businesses across Charlotte to make tough decisions about whether to stay open, close, or modify their plans.
Phyllis Rollins, director of Iyengar Yoga Charlotte, opened the first yoga center in Charlotte in 1993. She moved into her current studio space on East 8th Street in 2001.
"Yoga is a wonderful way for all of us to get control of our minds, to learn to feel what's happening in our body,” Rollins said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic spread to Charlotte, Rollins closed the yoga center’s physical location, moving to online classes.
Now Rollins said she has made the tough decision to permanently close the physical studio for good.
"Five more weeks, keep paying the rent, hold on, hold on, hold on,” Rollins said, “It just felt like financially I couldn't hold the space forever and safety issues were really paramount."
Rollins said she had concerns about how to do yoga at a social distance in the space with the added cleaning and safety measures.
"How will we do yoga in a mask?” she said. “How would we do yoga in gloves? How would people use the props? How would I clean the floor?"
It’s a decision many business owners may face in the coming months.
According to a survey by Main Street America, 7.5 million small businesses of approximately 30 million nationwide may be at risk of closing permanently over the next few months if the crisis continues.
The Regal Manor Twin Theatre in Myers Park closed its doors permanently amid the pandemic.
Dilworth restaurant Summit Room announced on Instagram that the “adventure has come to an end. A small, neighborhood, full-service restaurant isn’t made for masks, 6 feet distancing and 50% capacity…”
Rollins said she is now pivoting the yoga business to online-only classes. The Pilates business that is part of 8th Street Studio will take over the physical space the yoga center leaves behind.
Rollins said she is looking forward to the possibility of Iyengar Yoga Charlotte reaching even more students through online classes.
“We have to change,” she said. “I think we all have to change.”
Though, she is not shutting down the idea of opening a physical location once again when the pandemic passes and there is a vaccine.
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