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Super Bowl may provide small boost for struggling Charlotte businesses

At Dilworth Neighborhood Grille, Super Bowl LV looks and feels different, but there are memories of the good days.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Before the pandemic, the Super Bowl was always a big social occasion for small businesses. But with local and state orders still in effect, many restaurants have stopped serving alcohol at 9 p.m. and health officials are urging people not to gather. 

With more people staying home, small businesses in the Charlotte area are missing opportunities to make money yet again.

"It's just nothing compared to what it used to be," Matt Wohlfarth, the owner of Dilworth Neighborhood Grille, said.

At Dilworth Neighborhood Grille, Super Bowl LV looks and feels different, but there are memories of the good days. The 16-year-old restaurant once packed during game day. 

"Standing room only, everyone having fun," Wohlfarth said. 

Wohlfarth has adapted to the pandemic, but he hasn't been able to fully bounce back. He said he's not sure how much longer his business will survive under these conditions.

"I would imagine we have half a year to go... I don't know, I'm hoping we have a normal football season next year," Wohlfarth said.

The small business is counting on local support to keep doors open. 

"People whose livelihoods depend on us being able to go out -- I think people are doing it safely," Patrick Suprunowicz said.

For Suprunowicz and his friends, coming out to watch the game is a good distraction from the pandemic. 

"Super Bowl Sunday is always a great day for everybody, I think we all want some normalcy," Suprunowicz said. 

The Super Bowl is providing a small boost at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille. They are busy with take-out orders.

Wohlfarth said he is hopeful for the future, saying he knows things could always be worse.

"Every day I wake up and feel... wow we are lucky to be where we are, to have so much to go through and have great regulars who fill up the slow times," Wohlfarth said.