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Companies Put Return-to-Work Plans in Motion

A year and a pandemic ago, over 100,000 people filled the central business district in Charlotte, N.C., pouring out of offices, including several recently built skyscrapers, and into restaurants, bars and sports venues. Then as the coronavirus sent employees to their homes, much of the city center quickly went quiet and dark.The return of those employees to their offices has been halting and difficult. Last fall, Fifth Third Bank began bringing back workers, but soon reversed course. LendingTree, which is moving from the suburbs to the city, is waiting for the end of the school year. Wells Fargo has …

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Pandemic Closures Devastate Restaurant Industry’s Middle Class

Around the same time, the industry was staggering back to life. In Chicago, the Michelin-starred Elske, known for its moderately priced tasting menu, began opening three days a week to offer takeout. “Our first meal was Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and cucumber salad,” said David Posey, the chef who co-owns Elske with his wife. “We thought we’d go through that in a week. It was enough for one day.”In Nashville, Tony Galzin, the co-owner and chef at Nicky’s, revved up his coal-fired oven and sold housemade pizzas and fresh pasta to go. In Washington, Cork Wine Bar, …

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