HIGH POINT, N.C. — The pandemic has changed the High Point Furniture Market. Masks, temperature checks and health checks are required to get in.
Even with all the restrictions, local business owners said attendees are a welcomed sight. Despite the reduced attendance because of the pandemic, they are hoping to catch a break and cash in.
"Super excited to be part of the furniture market. I was going to be nearby in April but everything was canceled," said Grace Charnow of Greensboro. Charnow owns the Western Wander food truck.
"Anything with a glimmer of normal is really grateful to be a part of," Charnow said.
The market spans 13 square blocks and takes place in more than 180 buildings in downtown High Point.
The limited capacity, nine-day event kicked off Tuesday and by the second day, area restaurant owners were bracing for a busy next few days.
"We got a couple of flyers down there in the village. Hopefully, they pick it up and say, 'Oh, Harbor One' and people that came in from last time they were here and some have already called us to ask us if we're going to be open," said Leroy Gardener who owns Harbor One Restaurant.
The market is operating under strict safety measures in line with the CDC and the State of North Carolina.
Locals in search of work or extra money have also filled available temporary positions. Positions range from cleaning staff to venue attendants.
"It's been a blessing for me and my family to be able to come out and work. These days times are hard right now so you've got to grab what you have to grab," James Thompson said.
Thompson works as a magazine and brochure stacker for the market and said this job would help him catch up on bills and taking care of his family during the pandemic.
"Six-thirty in the morning to 6 in the evening nine days straight, again it'll be a blessing for me and my family," Thompson said.
"I look forward to seeing what the rest of the week has in store," Charnow said.
Local hotels, transportation businesses, including rideshare operators, are also poised to have a boost.
The market also includes virtual events and continues until Wednesday, Oct. 21.