by Michael Lowrey
A lot of empty stores and restaurants near the site of the NATO summit while protestors in the streets chant “Bombs are dropping. No more shopping.” Most employers in the office buildings near the site operated with skeleton staffs if at all while most of their employees worked from home. Could this be a model for what we’ll see in Charlotte in just over three months?
Why yes, it easily could be. Things Uptown will not be normal when the DNC is in town. The question is just the degree of abnormality. There will be thousands of delegates and journalists in town. There will also be thousands of protestors here and there will thousands of police trying to keep the protestors away from the delegates and journalists.
So how do the thousands of people that work Uptown fit into all this? Not well. The question is just how poorly — how few people will be allowed to or want to work Uptown. We still don’t have the final word on that, but there’s little reason to be optimistic.
As for making up the business from people coming to town from the event, that will depend upon who you’re talking about. If the supposition is that the delegates go wandering off on their own to support random local businesses, you really haven’t been paying attention. This event is way too scripted for that. Either you get a contract to hold an event (party) or you’re SOL. Simple as that. And the press will follow the delegates.
Bonus observation: Because there are going to be events all over town, the DNC could be a colossal pain for people all over town. Be forewarned and call ahead.