Commuters in both cities are already grumbling.
"It's going to be a zoo," said Bob Daniels, 45, an accountant who works in downtown Charlotte. "The last thing I want to do is have to go through checkpoints, and roadblocks. It's too much of a hassle. Too much stress. I don't want to be around it."
Instead, Daniels said he will work from his home in Rock Hill, S.C., about 20 miles away. His accounting company will be open, but most employees will telecommute.
"It's no big deal. A lot of people work from home. All you need is your laptop. I do it all the time," Daniels said.
Bank of America, which employs about 15,000 people at its headquarters in Charlotte, is encouraging employees to work from a mix of downtown offices, alternative bank facilities and their homes, BofA spokesman Scott Silvestri said.
Wells Fargo, which employs about 20,000 people in the Charlotte area, is also considering letting people work from home and other alternatives.
In Tampa, city and county office buildings will be closed and employees will work remotely or in other locations. Some companies located in Tampa's skyscrapers are allowing people to work from home.
Convention activities generally begin around 4 p.m. each day, so afternoon rush hour is bound to be challenging.
In Tampa, Humana health insurance, the city of Tampa and RNC officials decided to provide 20 pedal-buses — they look like pedal driven, canopied golf carts on steroids — to help conventioneers get around the city to visit restaurants and stores. Each pedal bus can accommodate eight riders plus one "driver" that steers the rig. After Tampa, those pedal-buses will be headed to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
Despite all the predictions of gridlock, Tampa's downtown merchants are still hoping to have some semblance of a normal work week. Ed Arias, the owners of Reina Shoe Repair in downtown Tampa, said he's received scant information from the city on what to expect. He expects to come to work as usual on the first day of the convention and hope for the best, adding that most of his regular customers will likely be out of town.
"But if it's too crazy, too risky, I'll shut the doors."
Mitch Weiss reported from Charlotte, N.C.
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