NC business lockdown has ‘human toll’ as owners weigh lives vs. livelihood

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As local business owners continue to work on concrete plans to reopen, the continuing situation has many of them weighing the impact on lives versus their livelihood.

“The lockdown has exacted a significant human toll,” said UNC-Chapel Hill professor Christian Lundblad.

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

According to Dennis Edwards, CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, roughly half of the businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are still closed or operating with limited capacity under phase two of North Carolina’s reopening plan.

“The only path forward hinges upon a healthy dose of intelligent risk-taking,” said Lundbald.

Lundbald is referring to what many in the business community are questioning: How should they weigh lives versus livelihoods.

“On one hand many consumers and businesses have been negatively impacted, but on the other businesses are finding great opportunities,” said Hope Bryant, vice president of First Citizens Bank. “Both have a sense of urgency.”

Bryant says people are taking advantage of low-interest rates to get loans and refinance their homes, but consumers between the ages of 18 to 24 may be most impacted by the virus.

“While bars and dance clubs might have a surge in demand by young people, traditional higher-end establishments, and retail establishments in general, will continue to struggle,” said UNC-Chapel Hill professor Greg Brown.

Though none of the experts believe there is a one-size-fits-all fix, they agree storefront safety is a good start as owners try to protect everyone inside and out of their business.

“Many feel they are flying blind due to the limited amount of real time data they have access too,” said Brown.

“If we’re going to reopen our economy, our lives, and our schools we must have better data,” said Bryant.

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