Several local and chain businesses in Western North Carolina have announced permanent closures in recent weeks as the economy continues to struggle with the impact of the pandemic.

In its recent coverage, WLOS News 13 reached out to Center For the Study of Free Enterprise Director Edward Lopez for insight into what these closures mean, now and in the long term.

“I think what we’re seeing is just this rebalancing of the economy as we recover from the pandemic,” Western Carolina University economics professor Edward Lopez said.

“I think your older restaurant brands are scaling back because they just don’t have that sustainable long tail of demand to see them through these major hits they’re taking,” he said.

WLOS noted that patrons of several restaurants slated to close expressed their dismay over the announcements in various online forums.

Lopez, however, noted that this situation differs from the Great Recession because the effects are mostly seen in businesses already on rocky financial ground.

“This round is different because it’s the economically-vulnerable that are getting hit. Last round, it was the over-leveraged that were getting hit,” Lopez said.

Read the full coverage here:

Center For the Study of Free Enterprise will continue to examine the economic impact as the pandemic unfolds. Watch this space for our ongoing research.