Baton Rouge restaurants and bars continue to deal with spike in COVID-19 cases

Recent news of a spike in COVID-19 cases among LSU students has created a stir among Baton Rouge bars and restaurants. The wave of cases led several Tigerland bars, such as Fred’s, JL’s Place and Reggie’s, to close temporarily for sanitization and to put in place safety measures such as temperature checks.

Other restaurants, such as the Overpass Merchant, The Chimes and Mid City Beer Garden, also closed temporarily last week as a precautionary measure and to provide testing for staff—many of whom are often college age.

Fortunately, most of those closures lasted only a few days and the businesses reopened this past weekend with some modifications to continue following Phase Two guidelines.

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We’re back open‼️We’ve spent this past week making it our priority to ensure a much safer & cleaner environment to enjoy‼️All members of the staff have been tested, & we recently had @batonrougesanitizing come in and sanitize the entire bar‼️We will also have mask & sanitizing stations available around the bar‼️In order to safely reopen, there’s a few rules we must enforce 1. Temperature will be taken at the front door. We have the right to refuse entry 2. No sitting or congregating at the bar area 3. Customers must sit at tables that have been placed around the bar area 4. No more than 10 people per table 5. No dancing on the tables or on the bar tops🙁 6. Wash your hands 7. Please try to wear a mask when not seated

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But in what might be an ongoing trend as the country continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, some restaurants and bars reopened this week while other ones decided to close.

Beausoleil Restaurant and Bar announced on Saturday that it would close immediately with plans to re-open in August. “The challenges of the past three months have taken a toll on all of us,” the Jefferson Highway restaurant said in a Facebook post. “The recent rise in cases in our area, while we attempt to operate at a limited capacity, is presenting new challenges daily. … With time to rest, re-charge, and prepare, we hope to re-open in August with new energy and adjustments for this “new normal.”

As a member of the Juban Restaurant Group, Beausoleil marks three out of its four restaurants that has closed temporarily, along with Christina’s and Adrian’s. The group’s flagship restaurant, Juban’s, is still operating—though owners are pessimistic about what the future holds.

“What little staff you do have is getting sick,” Managing Partner Michael Boudreaux told Daily Report on Monday. “One day you’re open, then someone gets sick and you get everybody tested and close for 24 hours. Then you get back to work and it happens again and again and finally it’s like, what’s the point? All you’re doing is beating up your staff.”

Today, Elsie’s Plate & Pie announced that it would be closing temporarily because one of its staff members tested positive. “We will take a three day break to have our staff tested and sanitize the building,” the Government Street restaurant said in a Facebook post. “Thanks for bearing with us during these challenging times. We look forward to serving up all of your favorite plates and pies as soon as we can safely do so for you and our staff!”

Similarly, Bistro Byronz closed its Willow Grove location on Monday , saying it’s also having staff tested following a “recent exposure.”

If you know of a Baton Rouge area restaurant that’s had to close temporarily because of COVID-19 concerns—or has reopened following a temporary closure—let us know about it in the comments!

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