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Charlotte business owner fears another shutdown as COVID-19 cases rise

Businesses are finally back open and into a routine, but some are concerned all of the progress could be undone.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are starting to creep back up in the Carolinas. Health experts warn the community is moving in the wrong direction again, and it has some on edge.

That includes business owners who are finally getting back into a routine. So many businesses, both large and small, have suffered over the past year and a half.

NoDa Company Store is no different. The owners pivoted 4 different times throughout the pandemic to stay afloat, and now, their biggest concern is the virus could get bad again and businesses could have to close their doors.

Flipping the sign back to "open" was a huge relief for the owners of the store.

“We barely survived it,” Joey Hewell, one of the co-owners, said.

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Early on in the pandemic, they transformed into a small grocery store, even selling food online. While they were closed, they remodeled the back patio to give enough space for social distancing, and then they started selling t-shirts and hats, just to keep their employees working.

“Over an 18 month period we had a few different businesses really within our business,” Hewell said.

Now they're finally back to business as usual but Hewell is nervous it could all be undone.

Cases are rising across the country, state, and in Mecklenburg County, but the vaccination rate here still sits right below 50%.

“While this disease is still with us, the more people who get vaccinated, the less it has to impact our day-to-day lives,” Gov. Roy Cooper said on Wednesday.

Getting the shot is a personal choice, but Hewell is urging more people to think about the community implications of putting it off even longer.

“By these cases spiking you’re going to make your favorite mom and pop shop close down again,” he said. “And I’m not sure that any of the small businesses around us are going to be able to survive it again."

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Hewell says he's even considering holding a vaccine clinic at his store.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department and StarMed Healthcare are still giving the $25 cash cards to people who get their first dose of the vaccine.

The final summer cash drawing $1 million lottery is on August 4.

Contact Chloe Leshner at cleshner@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. 

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