Charlotte, NC

Queen City Roundup 12/29: COVID-19 closes businesses, CMPD funeral, Hornets humble Houston

Collin Cunningham

By Collin Cunningham

(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) Happy Hump day, Charlotte! We're almost halfway to closing the week off, and some Charlotte businesses are closing unexpectedly amid the omicron-led surge of COVID-19. We'll tell you which are shuttering and when, as well as the latest coronavirus statistics from North Carolina, which saw its highest percent positive rate of infections yet on Tuesday.

Mourners are preparing to watch a casket close during today's funeral for 33-year-old Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Officer Mia Goodwin after she was killed by a car crash on Interstate 85 near Charlotte last week. The Hornets humbled Houston at home on Monday, defeating the Rockets 123-99 with big plays from Mason Plumlee and Kelly Oubre Jr. And our Safe NYE in the CLT preview continues with small-scale events to say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022.

It is Wednesday, Dec. 29, and here's what every resident of the Queen City needs to know until tomorrow.

1. Businesses close as NC witnesses its highest COVID-19 positivity rate since start of pandemic

What happened: As cases and hospitalizations rise during the latest coronavirus surge, several of Charlotte's smaller businesses are temporarily closing their doors to the public. Lunchbox Records over in Belmont closed its powder blue building on Tuesday night and reopened today after a staff member tested positive for the virus. NoDa Bodega closed down on Dec. 23 and owners said they felt confident it would reopen today after navigating "unchartered territory."

Moxie Mercantile, a vintage clothing boutique between Elizabeth and Plaza Midwood, has also closed its stock of sundries to visitors to allow employees to catch up on missed holiday time with their families. And Comedy Zone Charlotte canceled its New Year's performances after staff tested positive for COVID-19.

Why it matters: The business owners may have been heeding the words of Dr. Katie Passaretti, Atrium Health's expert on infectious disease, who told reporters on Tuesday that Charlotteans with plans to spend New Year's Eve in a group setting should reconsider, per The Charlotte Observer.

“For everyone, I would encourage people to reconsider their New Year’s Eve plans,” she said. “If they’re in indoor settings in particular.”

Two other event venues apparently took Passaretti up on her advice, with VGBG Beer Hall and Garden and 8.2.0 Event Space calling off their joint party at 8.2.0 and NoDa Company Store, another beer hall, putting a mask over its planned masquerade party on Tuesday.

2. NC sees 3,700 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, nearly 7,000 on Christmas as NCDHHS reports highest positivity rate since pandemic started

What happened: On Tuesday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported COVID-19 data for the first time since Dec. 23, revealing that 6,900 new cases from Christmas. Tuesday saw 3,700 new cases, and 1,992 people are hospitalized in North Carolina due to the coronavirus as of Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Perhaps the most concerning aspect of Tuesday's data dump is the 21.9% positivity rate among those tested for COVID-19, the highest number the Old North State has ever seen in that category.

That's a 6% uptick from the rate seen before the weekend and roughly means that one in every five people being tested is positive for COVID-19. The number is likely higher due to Christmas Eve testing, with 75,000 North Carolinians getting tested on Dec. 24.

3. Mourners gather for funeral of CMPD Officer Mia Goodwin

Charlotte law enforcement and friends and family of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Officer Mia Goodwin donned black to attend Goodwin's funeral between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m at First Baptist Church. Prior to congregating at the 301 N. Davidson St. church, mourners gathered at Alexander Funeral Home on Statesville Avenue to form a procession that closed the following streets at 8:45 a.m.:

  • Statesville Avenue
  • North Graham Street
  • West Trade Street
  • North College Street
  • East 5th Street
  • North McDowell STreet
  • South Davidson Street

Learn more about the accident that killed Goodwin and the charges being brought against one of the drivers involved Below the Fold.

4. Hornets humble Houston at home, 123-99

It's been a while since the Roundup has mentioned the Hornets on Dec. 21. Since then, the team defeated the Nuggets in Denver 115-107 on Dec. 23 and then trounced the Houston Rockets at Spectrum Center on Monday. Mason Plumlee started the game off with a three, ultimately scoring 29, and a buzzer-beating dunk by Kelly Oubre Jr. brought the Hornets their largest game-winning margin this season.

The final score was 123-99 and the Hornets are now 18-17 overall heading into a match against the Pacers in Indiana at 7 p.m. today. Readers can learn who will be sitting out Below the Fold.

5. Safe NYE in the CLT: Low-key events to socialize without spreading

Charlotte has no shortage of New Year's Eve events and parties this year, but the spread of omicron and words of advice from local health experts means that the last day of 2021 might be the wrong day to visit Gatsby's House or engage in a bar crawl. Here are three low-key events with vaccines, masking and social distancing in mind to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday.

  • CLT NYE celebration in Uptown — Dec. 31, 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Readers should bear in mind that there will be a large gathering at this display of fireworks, food and music, but since the event is outdoors attendees can congregate as far from the stage as they please. The event starts at 8 p.m. at Levine Center for the Arts on South Tryon Street, and fireworks will kick 2022 off at midnight.
The outdoor nature of CLT NYE allows attendees to stand as near or far from the action as they deem fit.(Patrick Schneider/Charlotte City Partners)

Here's an event where you dont' have to leavethe kids at home. The Matthews Community Center is counting down to 12 hours before 2022 on Friday with a DJ playing family-friendly tunes leading up to a noon balloon drop. Tickets cost $7.

Strap on your mask and a pair of Nike Air Max shoes for this event at America's only museum dedicated to the 1990s. Charlotteans are invited to pair their nicest garb with their freshest sneakers to spend a night in the museum for as low as $50. The party's Eventbrite page promises a midnight champagne pour, live performances and "Heavy Horderves."

Below the Fold

Businesses close, continued: If the news of Charlotte businesses temporarily shutting down has you down, WFAE's list of "most interesting" business stories from 2021 might be your cure. The NPR affiliate has been posting year in review news roundups of stories dealing with arts and culture, FAQs and the first full year of the pandemic in Charlotte, among others.

The Charlotte Observer also took a look back at the newest businesses to fill plates in the Queen City in 2021.

Goodwin, continued: Goodwin was observing a highway cleanup from the shoulder of Interstate 85 near Charlotte around 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 22 when an 18-wheeler truck collided with another truck, striking her and three other officers. The other CMPD cops recovered from their injuries, but Goodwin was pronounced dead at the scene.

One of the truck drivers, 50-year-old Daniel Lee Morgan, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, misdemeanor death by vehicle, failure to reduce speed and felony failure to move over for stopped emergency vehicles following the accident. Court documents show that he tried to walk away from the scene, per WSOC, and police say Morgan did not move over for the officers. He is out of jail on a bail bond.

Hornets, continued: When the Hornets step into Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis to face the Pacers tonight, ESPN reports they'll do so without P.J. Washington, Miles Bridges and Scottie Lewis, who entered the NBA's health and safety protocols on Sunday and Monday.

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I cover the city of Charlotte, North Carolina for NewsBreak's Creator Program. Check back often for daily headline roundups to learn what's happening in the Queen City!

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