NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -With closed doors and empty streets greeting visitors are every block, quarantine is still very evident downtown.
“Normally, you got people all over the place cars all over the place but now it’s real quiet,” Stoney Linn said.
Linn and his family are in town for a travel ball game. And while they’re trying to enjoy their time, they know they’re missing a lot of what New Orleans has to offer.
“We’re a little further, in New Iberia we got more restaurants open up and got a lot more traffic,” Linn said.
Another sign of downtown reopening, the Riverwalk Collection Mall will welcome shoppers back for the first time since closing their doors.
“Not all merchants are open, but that’s ok it’s going to be a slow start, but we have to start somewhere and the ones that are opening tomorrow are really excited to get people back in,” Kandyse Aube said.
Masks will be required, and shoppers should be prepared to wait outside as security will be keeping a keen eye on their 50 percent capacity limit. But managers can’t wait for the phase two reopening.
“It’s been strange having them all close we are merchants miss our customers we miss interacting with people from around the world but it’s going to be refreshing to see everyone face,” Aube said.
Another sign New Orleans is moving to phase two: video poker establishments and casinos will reopen. Over at the Fairgrounds, masks and temperature checks will be a requirement, and the floor will be kept at a 25 percent cap, but leaders say the public should know they stepped up when other racing establishments stepped back.
“We implement a temperature checked before it became vogue, we had masks, we had full PPE, gloves for all of our employees on the backside,” Doug Shipley, Fairgrounds president said.
For the past three months, the fairgrounds have already been testing the hundreds of racers staying on the grounds and caring for the horses. That is why leaders say they’re more than ready to open their doors to the public.
“I feel very confident they probably have one of the most stringent programs around… it’s a bit of an emotional relief this is kind of the light at the end of the tunnel even though we’re being very restrictive on the numbers folks were allowing into the property during these phases,” Shipley said.