Ascension business owners, local restaurants prepare for impact to bottom line

Businesses in Ascension Parish grappling with new bar, restaurant restrictions

ASCENSION PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards says dining rooms in restaurants will be shut down by midnight on Monday, March 16 as the government leads efforts to try and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Dining rooms in restaurants will be shut down by midnight, to try and stop the spread of coronavirus.
Dining rooms in restaurants will be shut down by midnight, to try and stop the spread of coronavirus. (Source: WAFB)

“We’ve dealt with hurricanes and storms and all that good stuff, but this is definitely a new epidemic for us,” said Ray Stonemark, Operating Partner at Don’s Seafood.

Only drive-through, takeout options, and delivery are allowed.

Stonemark says Don’s will offer takeout options, but his business and staff are definitely going to suffer.

“If this would go on for longer than a month, would it affect your bottom line?” questioned WAFB’s Lester Duhé.

“Oh, it's going to affect it tomorrow,” said Stonemark.

“As much as I’m going to miss Mexican and my margaritas and queso, I feel like I’d rather take more precautions than not enough,” said Brooke Rome, an Ascension resident.

Over at Casa Maria Mexican Grill in Gonzales, employee hours will be cut significantly.

“We have to cut down the labor, so we’re going to start it off with two people on to-go’s. And it just depends how busy we are. And it’s really hard because a lot of people have kids and everything, so it’s just, all very new to us,” said Anna Johnson, a manager at Casa Maria.

It may be much longer than the original date of April 13 before customers can come inside restaurants and dine in.

Ascension Parish officials also said chemical plants in the area are looking at the size of their workforce and thinking about how best to schedule their employees.

Parish President Clint Cointment also announced that parish employees will be paid during this time.

Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment and mayors throughout the parish addressed residents about changes to local businesses beginning at midnight Tuesday, March 17.
Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment and mayors throughout the parish addressed residents about changes to local businesses beginning at midnight Tuesday, March 17. (Source: WAFB)

Local mayors also announced that City Hall’s throughout Ascension Parish will remain open for business. Residents will just have to use a drive-through to receive service.

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