Ongoing bar closures due to COVID-19 spike impacting owners

COVID closures impacting businesses

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Another week of restrictions means another hit to the bottom line at some area bars, forcing owners to try to endure as coronavirus cases continue to climb.

Allen Cope co-owns CJ’s Daiquiris on Jefferson Highway. It had to close its doors back in March and now, with a new wave of state guidelines, Cope said the establishment is taking a second hit.

“Obviously, we don’t want to let it go, so we’re okay with ponying up the money,” Cope explained. “But when you have to do this month after month after month, it does take its toll.”

Cope said they were only re-opened for two weeks before being forced to curbside pick-up only. Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered bars that do not serve food to close or adjust their operations after a recent spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

“It’s not fair because I’m probably much safer than most restaurants you go in. We put hand sanitizers on our wall, we provide masks to our customers even before the mask mandate was set forth by the governor,” Cope added.

Coronavirus cases in Louisiana have surpassed 100,000, with many of the newest cases reported in young adults. Some hospitals have also requested federal help to assist with crowded ICUs. Health officials said contact tracing linked the increase to bars, which reopened during phase two. Cope said he believes everyone is now suffering for some who made poor choices.

“I still haven’t been able to hire back a few other workers ‘cause we were just getting back on our feet after the original shutdown. Can’t even hire those back yet because we’re shut down again and back at 30 percent of our income,” he noted.

Cope also said they have one goal now ... to keep their doors open as long as they can.

“I’m blessed to be open at least to do curbside but this is not a moneymaking scenario. This is a break-even so we can just get to the next month. It’s not even about making money at this point because there is just no way we can,” he stated.

The governor will revisit the phase guidelines August 7.

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