By now we’re less than 100 days from the scheduled Republican National Convention in Charlotte, and while there’s still doubt about what form the convention will take, the Observer plays up the “lifeline” angle: the RNC could be the “upturn” the city’s restaurant and hospitality industry is desperately seeking:

“The Republican National Convention is going to be a very big upturn for many of the Charlotte companies (and) businesses,” Marcia Lee Kelly, the convention’s president and CEO, told Fox Business Friday. “It’s going to be very symbolic of our economy of our nation recovering.”

The convention has been expected to bring 50,000 people to Charlotte for four days starting Aug. 24. For businesses, especially those in the hospitality industry, that could be a shot in the arm.

Mohammad Jenatian, president of the Greater Charlotte Hospitality and Tourism Alliance, said at least a quarter of Charlotte-area hotels have temporarily closed. Except for takeout business, so have most restaurants and bars.

“Simply put, (the industry) has been devastated,” Jenatian said. ”Right now the only hope that is out there for all of those people is they’re looking at the month of August. With the the fear that they have, that is the only hope that most of them have right now.”

Note the comments beneath the Observer article are pretty doom and gloom. The situation is fluid, and who knows what will happen over the course of the next 100 days.