RALEIGH, N.C. -- As teachers and activists are gearing up for Wednesday's teacher rally in Raleigh, businesses, hotels and restaurants are preparing for the influx of customers.   

  • As many as 20,000 people are expected at the rally.
  • Many hotels are already filling up.
  • No changes will be made to public parking.

With close to 20,000 people planning on gathering for the rally, local businesses are already doing the math so they're ready for those numbers.

Businesses are expecting a boom from what could be one of the biggest rallies the capital city has ever seen.

"We're going to have extra people here,” said Azyleah Layne of Happy and Hale. “Some in the back. Some in the front … just here prepping and ready for the rush."

It’s a rush that's already come to Raleigh as some downtown hotels like the Sheraton say they are filling up.

"With occupancy, we'll sell out tonight, and we should be able to tomorrow night,” said Sheraton Raleigh General Manager Leon Cox. “That's mostly due to teachers coming from the outer regions of our state, helping to fill us up."

Cox said the massive rally comes at an already busy week for downtown business.

There's also a Children's Museum convention, the NCAA golf regional tournament and other conferences.

"These are events that bring room nights but also food and beverage to our outlets,” said Cox. “It's a huge revenue generator for most of our downtown hotels."

Teachers will be marching along sidewalks on Salisbury and Fayetteville Streets, and local restaurants are sure they'll work up an appetite for lunch.

"We'll have so many more people in here,” said Layne. “There will be a constant stream of people here from 10 to 3 instead of like 11 to 2."

As for traffic, city officials told Spectrum News that they are not doing anything different when it comes to public parking on Wednesday. So, it may be a good idea to carpool or get dropped off.

They also didn't give any details about how they will handle the morning or evening commutes.

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