COVID-19: Mayor Lyles discusses impact on economy, future of MLS and RNC in Charlotte

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles says she and other city leaders are ready to work with the hospitality industry and small business owners.

COVID-19 has had a major impact on that industry in Charlotte, according to Mayor Lyles. The mayor says sales tax revenue for the city is down drastically.

Mayor Lyles held a virtual news conference Tuesday morning to address how she and other city leaders are preparing to lead the city forward long after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

The City of Charlotte went from a bustling economy to a virtual ghost town in a matter of days. Hundreds of local small businesses, like restaurants, are closed or barely breaking even. Mayor Lyles admits the hospitality industry in the city will continue to struggle.

“The hospitality industry is probably one of the areas that we are going to have to have the greatest emphasis on for recovery. We have been talking to them about how to do that,” said Mayor Lyles.

One thing Mayor Lyles says you won’t see is taxpayer money being offered to small business owners as a grant. North Carolina law prevents that from happening.

Instead, Mayor Lyles wants small businesses to focus on programs being offered at the federal level.

Just four months ago taxpayer money was being offered to help bring a Major League Soccer team to Charlotte.

The City of Charlotte said they would set aside $110 million in hospitality funds to support the team. As of now city council still needs to hold a public hearing on that money, as well as a vote.

“We will not be allocating any of that money. What I can tell you right now that is probably the first thing on the top of our agenda for hospitality and tourism dollars,” said Mayor Lyles.

As of now, The Republican National Convention is still set for this summer in Charlotte. Charlotte City Council plans to vote on a $50 million security grant once normal council meetings are back in session.Mayor Lyles also says that no layoffs are planned within City of Charlotte government right now, but she didn’t rule that out as a possibility down the road.

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