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Charlotte businesses adapting to new normal during COVID-19

On Monday, the Senate failed for a second time to advance a massive stimulus package aimed at helping the economy through the coronavirus pandemic.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Businesses across the Charlotte area are working to find ways to keep operations running as the coronavirus pandemic spreads.

On Monday, the Senate failed for a second time to advance a massive stimulus package aimed at helping the economy through the coronavirus pandemic.

RELATED: Another attempt to move ahead on virus aid package snags

In the meantime, local businesses like Central Coffee Co. are relying on community support to help get them through this rough patch.

Central Coffee Co. has started a delivery service, bringing bags of coffee, cold brew, and more to the doorsteps of customers.

"We leave it on their doorstep,” Jimmy Kleto, owner of Central Coffee Co. “Send them a text, and it's ready to go."

The owners, Jimmy and Louisa Kleto, said this a way for them to keep things running while offering a service so customers don’t have to leave their houses for unnecessary reasons.

The business has had to let some of their employees go, but they hope to hire their staff back once the pandemic passes.

"Whenever it's deemed safe enough that we feel we can get our staff in there we will,” Jimmy said. “We will open our doors. That's our goal, but we want it to be safe."

Other restaurants like Potbelly Sandwich Shop have had to make adjustments to day-to-day operations.

“Right now we’re doing takeout, delivery, curbside service, and we’re still catering,” said Shak Patel, owner of Charlotte’s three Potbelly Sandwich Shop locations. 

Patel said the restaurants are working to provide free lunches to a local school and charities, but since the coronavirus pandemic started to spread, sales have been down between 70 to 75%, with layoffs for about two-thirds of employees.

“We’re just trying to, you know, take it day by day,” Patel said, “educating our team members on the importance of cleanliness and handwashing.”

On Monday, Governor Cooper ordered hair and nail salons, barbershops, and massage therapists to close by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The owner of Savvy Salon and Day Spa in Cornelius decided to close last Wednesday out of an abundance of caution. 

“Safety, safety for ourselves and safety for everyone, and if everyone would just do this, we could clear this thing up,” said Pat Helmandollar, owner of the salon.

Helmandollar believes the salon will be fine, but she is concerned for those who work there.

"I worry about the people who work for us more than anything,” she said. “I worry about their livelihoods and how are they going to survive this."

Local businesses are now watching the debate on the stimulus package in Congress.

“It needs to go to the guy on the street, the working people,” Helmandollar said.

Patel added, “Would definitely like to see something where, you know, we could revamp our hiring and continue to pay our normal daily bills also.”

While Central Coffee Co. is leaning on community support through this crisis, they are waiting to see how the government will forward.

"We want our staff to be taken care of and make sure they get through this,” Jimmy Kleto said.


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