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Carolina Focus

Source: Programming / Radio One Digital

Bob Durkin knows first-hand the struggles faced during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The prominent Charlotte business owner is one of many who’ve been forced to make decisions that affect thousands. A monumental task to deal with while also complying with the ever-changing mandates handed down from Gov. Roy Cooper and other. It hasn’t been an easy process, but Durkin continue to manage through this difficult time.

“Now Cooper talks about ‘We’ll be back open’ people understand that,” Durkin told WBT Pat McCrory Show with Bo Thompson on Wednesday.

“The cost of retraining, rehiring, buying all the goods, restocking your inventory and marketing– that’s going to be a lot of money. And the biggest thing is the landlords. Where are the landlords going to stand and most of them are individual situations with their lenders or their financial institutions. Some of them own the building and they’re going to be able to forgive the rent.”

Durkin operated 10 bars and clubs that thrived in Charlotte before COVID-19 hit. Business came back to a screeching halt with restrictions being imposed on alcohol sales. The establishments hit the hardest by the 11 p.m. last call rule are those primarily in the south end of the Queen’s city. Breweries are at the center of this due to the sole nature of their business model.

“(Cooper’s) mandates for us have been very frustrating,” said Durkin. “He obviously doesn’t have somebody in the room who’s in the industry or he knows exactly what he’s doing and it was just pandering for votes.”

North Carolina’s Coronavirus restrictions have been on a sliding scale since the initial stay-at-home order in March. Phase 3, which is the current set of guidelines, allows restaurants and bars to open back up to the public with a limited amount of patrons. The original order was extended for three week to Dec. 4 and since amended to reduce the number of people allowed inside an establishment.

Added to that was a mandatory face covering order put in place by Cooper. The order that was put in place prior to Thanksgiving gave police the authority to arrest people for not wearing a mask and possibly charge them with a second degree misdemeanor.

One more thing to keep up-to-date with on top of other health and safety factors. But those concerns goes further than just trying to remain open. Durkin stressed that progress made from a possible comeback could be wiped out permanently for some businesses, that is if another shut down is looming in the coming months.

“That could be the end of several more businesses. There is no way its going to be a positive impact.”

Listen to the entire interview with Bob Durkin on The Pat McCrory Show with Bo Thompson below.