We’re open for business, says mayor; no we’re not, say top companies


With Charlotte’s uptown business and shopping district in the epicenter of two nights of violent unrest, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts declared Thursday, “Today, our city is open for business as usual.”

Well, not exactly.

The titans of Tryon Street — Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Duke Energy — urged their hundreds of employees to stay away from uptown Thursday. So did Fifth Third Bank, Ally Financial and the United Way of Central Carolinas.

WBTV in Charlotte quoted a Wells Fargo email to employees: “Due to the recent events and the declared state of emergency in Charlotte, Wells Fargo team members are not required to report to work Thursday.”

United Way posted a hopeful message even as it told workers to stay away: “Employees are being asked to work from home today… . Our windows are broken, but we are committed to this community’s healing.”

Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City, said businesses had to make their own call.

“Those were independent decisions made by those businesses based on their individual assessments,” Smith said. “Their priorities are to protect their associates and I completely respect that. We encouraged businesses to stay open. Center City is open for business.”


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