Uptown Charlotte remained quiet Wednesday morning, the last day before Mecklenburg County's stay-at-home order expires. Photo: QCity Metro

Mecklenburg residents will have a bit more freedom, starting Thursday.

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio announced Tuesday that the county, the City of Charlotte and six county towns have agreed to follow the statewide stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Roy Cooper.

The county’s stay-at-home requirement, which was put in place March 26 to combat the spread of the coronavirus and the Covid-19 disease, expires Wednesday.

Why it matters: Because the state’s stay-at-home requirements are slightly less restrictive, more businesses can be deemed essential and local rules will loosen on funerals and some recreational activities.

  • Retail stores can begin opening through curbside pickup, County Manager Dena Diorio told Mecklenburg commissioners Tuesday.
  • Car dealerships, realtors, vape shops and furniture stores, among other businesses, will enjoy greater flexibility to operate.
  • The number of people allowed at funerals in Mecklenburg County will increase to 50, per the state’s guidelines.
  • Sports courts that use shared equipment can “conditionally” reopen.

“We believe this provides businesses the parameters needed, but doing it in a safe, responsible manner,” Diorio said.

Public Health Director Gibbie Harris told commissioners that she’s cautiously optimistic that transitioning to the state order will help maintain consistency by clarifying what is and what’s not allowed.

A toll on Black businesses: At yesterday’s “Talk About it Tuesday,” a virtual event hosted by the Harvey B. Gantt Center, a panel of Black business owners talked about the economic strains brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Kia Lyons, who owns a Popbar franchise in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood, said her business is down 70%.
  • Damian Johnson, cofounder of the No Grease barbershop franchise, said the social-distancing restrictions that came with Covid-19 essentially shut down the business he runs with his twin brother Jermaine.

All of the business owners on the panel talked about the importance of innovation, optimism and flexibility for anyone considering the entrepreneurial path.

The bottom line: The state’s current stay-at-home restrictions are set to expire May 8, with the economy gradually reopening under a three-phase process that could last into summer. All of that is contingent, of course, on the state hitting some health-related benchmarks and Covid-19 remaining in check.

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  1. Just a quick comment: How do we unmask the best practices for each of your young business owners to phase-in their re-opening? How do they determine if their customers and suppliers are ready themselves to return to doing business again when a COVID-19 vaccine is no where in site? And under what terms can our community help with anything? My thanks to everyone involved in producing the ‘Talk About It Tuesday’ webinar…all the best.

  2. There are still businesses unwilling to transition from their old cleaning habits or update old contracts from cleaning companies.
    With COVID-19 changing the ‘norm’ of living can guidance be given to businesses; especially those within the childcare and school systems to ensure after hour cleaning is done daily and added measures to disinfect walls are in-cooperated to help fight VOVID-19?

  3. I’m a little baffled to see so many retail employees working without masks and coming into close contact 1-2 feet, with hundreds of customers ( most also without masks) a day.
    I have seen this in every market I have passed.
    I viewed from afar and then chose not to stop.