New Orleans businesses concerned over decision to stay in Phase 2

Updated: Sep. 10, 2020 at 9:23 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - While Governor Edwards says the state can cautiously move into phase three, Mayor Cantrell says New Orleans will stay in phase two.

Business owners in New Orleans are concerned about their future and worry about how much longer they can hold on. But the mayor says data will determine when that can happen.

“Days like today, we are just making enough to get by,” said Nicholas Oseguera, the owner of El Paso’s.

At El Paso’s on Magazine Street, the owners tell Fox 8 they’re struggling.

“Ya know, if we go to stage three, we could have the bar. We could be making a lot more money than what we’ve been making,” Oseguera said.

While the state moves into phase three, Mayor LaToya Cantrell says New Orleans will stay in phase two.

She also pointed out the governor did not give any specifics about what phase three will look like..

“A parish, one of the largest in the state not having information again, the city of New Orleans is in phase two. We will remain in place. We will continue to let the data drive us,” Cantrell said.

Cantrell says the only restriction being lifted is allowing students to slowly return to school buildings starting next week.

“That is the priority for this city and for the community for all of our children to have access to on-site instruction because it is imperative to our growth and our economy,” Cantrell said.

Still, business owners worry about how much longer this phase will last for them.

“I believe a lot of businesses are going to be out of business very soon. I don’t think we could hang for two or three more months its very concerning,” said Marviani Ammari, CEO of Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts.

Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts is a company that operates more than a dozen restaurants and bars across several parishes.

The CEO says the New Orleans businesses are taking a hit.

“Our New Orleans restaurants are really suffering. They’re doing about 10 to 30 percent so far it makes no sense for us to operate them, but we have to continue to employ and move forward,” Ammari said.

Marviani Ammari says the biggest challenge is not being able to seat people at the bar.

“It’s tough. We’re looking for a local solution to a federal problem here. This is the reality. The federal government has not been a real partner in this from the very beginning,” Ammari said.

Mayor Cantrell blames the federal government and says there’s been a lack of resources for those who are suffering.

“So from the bars to the bartenders to all the business owners in New Orleans. No it’s not fair to them, no it’s not but looking at the local government to solve all of that, it’s a false expectation,” Cantrell said.

The mayor says the city will continue to push for more federal resources for the city of New Orleans. And in the meantime, she says the data will determine when the city can move to phase three.

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