Afternoon Observer: Feb. 25

Kristen Kornbluth
·3 min read

Hello, Charlotteans. Kristen here, enjoying the sunshine as I bring you today’s news. Looking for more activities around town as the hours get longer and weather (hopefully) stays nice? Check out CharlotteFive’s 5-minute guide to the best things to do in Charlotte for Feb. 26-March 4. From oyster roasts to virtual dancing poetry classes, there’s something for everyone.

Now, let’s talk about today’s news:

1. What’s changing at Meck parks now that COVID restrictions have changed

Mecklenburg County residents are still allowed to use the parks, as in here at Freedom Park, but social-distancing is expected. County officials recently closed off parking at the parks, intended to discourage groups from congregating.
Mecklenburg County residents are still allowed to use the parks, as in here at Freedom Park, but social-distancing is expected. County officials recently closed off parking at the parks, intended to discourage groups from congregating.

Coronavirus-related restrictions at Mecklenburg County parks will ease tomorrow evening — just as the governor’s modified stay-at-home order lifts in the wake of improved health trends.

The state of affairs, as reported by the Observer’s Alison Kuznitz:

  • Since Jan. 12 in and around Charlotte, parks, greenways and nature preserves have closed at dusk with the aim of preventing people from gathering and spreading the virus.

  • The expiration of Mecklenburg Public Health Director Gibbie Harris’ directive means more outdoor Park and Recreation service will resume on Monday.

  • Tennis courts and other fields will have lighting during “normal hours.”

“We want this to work. We want the openings to be something that is sustainable as we move forward,” Harris said. “But we need our numbers to continue to move in the right direction, and that means we need our community to continue to do the right thing.

Find more about how the loosening of restrictions impacts the Mecklenburg area here.

2. COVID tips we learned this week

The Observer hosted a live COVID-19 Q&A with Mecklenburg County deputy health director Dr. Raynard Washington on Wednesday. Reporters Alison Kuznitz and Hannah Smoot moderated the discussion, and dozens of readers submitted their questions before the event.

Here’s what was discussed:

  • Are vaccines safe? Why do we need them?

  • After I get a vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask and socially distance?

  • How do I get on the county vaccine waiting list?

Find the answers to these questions and more here with our recap of the live Q&A.

3. A Charlotte mystery has been solved

On Thursday, the great mystery behind the 77s in Charlotte was revealed via billboard.
On Thursday, the great mystery behind the 77s in Charlotte was revealed via billboard.

It started as any good gossip does — with an Instagram account, a billboard and Twitter speculations.

On Feb. 25 at 4 p.m., a billboard was unveiled and a news release sent simultaneously telling folks just What The 77 in Charlotte is.

But what’s on tap? Finally, we know. And “it’s so Charlotte,” as Observer editor Rogelio Aranda remarked in a newsroom Slack conversation about the reveal.

CharlotteFive’s Melissa Oyler has the fizzy details here.

Any ideas what it is? If my corny hints gave it away, drop me a line telling me what they bring to mind before you read the article.

Kickoff: The Charlotte Observer’s high school football dispatch

For those who follow high school football, we’ve got you covered with:

...and more. Find all of our high school football coverage here, and view more of our sports coverage here.

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