There was a lot of happiness and joy in the air last week when NC Gov. Roy Cooper and a Who’s Who of local leadership collectively announced the arrival of Boom Supersonic and its $500 million super-factory at Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA).
However, there was one question a lot of people had on their minds during the hour-long presentation on the bitterly cold afternoon: Why in the world was the event held outdoors in the terminal parking deck rather than just yards away inside the spacious terminal where it was a balmy 73 degrees.
Hundreds of people came out for the announcement including media from all over the state, local mayors, county commissioners and city council members along with a host of others. The event celebration wasn’t just outside – it was under the roof of the deck which had the effect of completely blocking out the sun and providing a concentrated wind tunnel effect due to a strong biting cold wind that howled constantly that afternoon.
Even though most had on heavy winter coats and head protection – and coronavirus masks on – it was extremely cold and much of the crowd was well up in years.
Several speakers joked about the conditions and one said that there would be refreshments at the end for those who survived the cold.
Despite the weather failing to cooperate, the presentation was a complete and utter success given the content of the announcement – though it is also true many would have rather gotten the news either inside the terminal or sitting in a spot outside where the overhead structure didn’t block the sun entirely.
One reason for the choice should be obvious. These days organizers like to put crowds outdoors because COVID-19 does not spread as easily outdoors according to the CDC.
PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker said that was one reason the event was held outside but added there were others.
He said there were “multiple reasons.”
For instance, he said, there was a desire to have the future site of the factory in the background as the presentation was given.
Baker also said the covered parking lot allowed for a large group that was well-spaced out.
“But COVID became the driving reason,” he said.
It’s understandable to want to protect the health of the community’s leadership and other onlookers from the coronavirus – but some no doubt would have rather taken their chances with COVID-19 inside than faced their death of cold from sitting in the dark freezing wind tunnel for an hour.