BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Some Baton Rouge area restaurants are temporarily shutting down... but it’s not for the reason you might think.
It’s not because employees have tested positive for COVID-19, it’s because the restaurants don’t have enough staff to fill a shift. Some of those employees say they’re making more through unemployment benefits than they would at work.
Outside of Adrian’s Restaurant & Bar, the sign on the door doesn’t say it’s closing. Instead it says, “We’ve made the difficult decision to press pause.”
“Like my father-in-law, Mr. Juban, says, we don’t know what the future holds, so we’re just taking it day by day, week by week,” said Michael Boudreaux, managing partner of Juban’s Restaurant Group.
The group owns places like Juban’s of course, and Beausoleil, which will both stay open. But Adrian’s and Christina’s are temporarily shutting down.
“Not having employees, you’re trying to fulfill 50% capacity. People are still scared in general. It’s like three double whammies all at the same time,” said Boudreaux.
Christina's will close temporarily starting Saturday, June 27.
Boudreaux says overall, the extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) came in late, and some of his employees aren’t ready to get back to work after getting unemployment pay.
“They’re [employees] satisfied with the unemployment check, so they’re just not coming to work, or they just choose not to come if they’re scared. They said, ‘I have enough money to, you know, wait this out,‘” said Boudreaux.
Staffing is the major issue, but Boudreaux is hopeful the employees will come back to work soon.
But the restaurants serving at just 25% or 50% capacity has been draining as well.
“In Baton Rouge, July is known as one of the slowest months of the year for certain restaurants, you know, fine dining and upper scale restaurants. What helps us out is the weddings and the private parties and the association groups, but we can’t do those because of the Phase 2,” Boudreaux said.
He says it’s the unknown that’s scaring people, and it’s hard to know what exactly to do.
“It’s scary. It’s just, we just don’t know. We’re just taking each restaurant day by day and seeing where it is,” said Boudreaux.
Beausoleil and Juban's will remain open for now.
Boudreaux tells WAFB some of his staff from Christina’s and Adrian’s that still want to work right now may be able to temporarily switch to one of the restaurants that’s remaining open.
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