Patrons get to enjoy patio dining at restaurants for first time in nearly two months

Diners enjoy eating on restaurant patios for the first time in more than a month

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Some Baton Rouge area restaurants are perhaps getting a little boost to their business now that some restrictions that were part of the governor’s stay-at-home orders have been lifted.

Friday, May 1 was the first time in a very long while that people could sit and eat on the patio of their favorite restaurant.

While restaurant owners and managers that WAFB spoke with said this isn't exactly the light at the end of the tunnel, it is definitely a step in the right direction for their businesses.

With tables 10 feet apart, during the usual lunchtime rush at Zippy’s, the outdoor section of the restaurant was finally open again.

“It’s a, I guess a sign of the times, as you say. We're dealing with a pandemic and we're trying to make it work while it's going on,” said Neal Hendrick, the owner of Zippy’s.

Under Governor Edwards’ loosened order, customers can sit and enjoy their food on restaurant patios.

“This is like getting back to normal for us, so it feels great honestly,” said one man eating at Zippy’s Friday.

By dinner time Friday night, Superior Grill on Government Street was also serving customers take out orders, and now on their patio.

“Ten people per table, these are the new patio rules, and 10 feet apart from table to table, and clean, and sanitize, masks, gloves,” said Kyle Hudson with Superior Grill.

Customers have to pick up their orders, as they can't be waited on by restaurant staff.

“We do feel that this is kind of the first very first kind of glimmer of hope in getting back to normal,” said Hudson.

Over at Bistro Byronz on Government Street, the restaurant normally has around 8 to 10 tables on its deck.

But now the owner is doing some renovations, so by next week customers can sit outside.

“So we were kind of in the middle of that here on our patio, to kind of spruce it up and get it ready for the summertime. The executive order came out so we kind of fast-forwarded it,” said Emelie Alton, the owner of Bistro Byronz.

There won’t be as many tables outside the restaurant. And Alton can’t wait to see some familiar faces once again.

“I don’t think this is the light at the end of the tunnel, but I think we’re slowly going back to some new norm as everybody says. So I think it’s a step in the right direction, I think we’re all trying to do it carefully and cautiously,” said Alton.

The governor says if restaurants do not comply with the exact rules of his new proclamation, he does have the power to bring in the State Fire Marshal’s office to review that business’ permit.

The new order expires in mid-May.

The governor does hope that by then Louisiana will be at phase 1 of the White House’s plan to reopen our economy.

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