Baton Rouge had a wakeup call earlier this week when Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Louisiana would stay in Phase Two for another month. The state has been seeing a recent troubling uptick in COVID-19 cases that surpasses the rate of testing.
And in Baton Rouge, we could already see the writing on the restaurant walls.
Several Capital City restaurants recently announced temporary closures due to a spike in cases of the coronavirus that appears to be traced back to bars in the Tigerland area. The Advocate recently reported that cases are on the rise among people younger than 30, and those cases have been linked to the LSU area as well as graduation parties in New Orleans.
“The state has reported 9,250 cases between the ages of 18 and 29—the highest number of cases within any age demographic in the state, now accounting for 18% of cases across Louisiana,” the June 25 story says.
While young people are often healthy enough to fight off the virus, they could potentially pass it to elderly relatives or any person with health problems they come into contact with.
Last Thursday, Fred’s, JL’s Place and Reggie’s—all Tigerland bars—announced they would close temporarily because employees and patrons had tested positive for COVID-19. The bars would be closed for about a week while the owners thoroughly cleaned each establishment.
Other restaurants soon followed suit, such as the Overpass Merchant, The Chimes and Mid City Beer Garden. Owners wrote that the temporary closures were either out of a precaution because the restaurants are frequented by college-age patrons, or because someone on staff had tested positive.
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UPDATE ON YESTERDAYS POST: On Thursday, June 18th, one of our staff members tested positive for COVID-19 and we closed the doors that evening. This person became aware of potential exposure to the LSU area cases on Monday, June 15th. The staff member reached out to us and tested on that day and has since been in quarantine. This employee worked a day shift as a barback in between potential exposure and testing on Sunday, June 14th and showed no symptoms. The employee was masked and sanitized properly during his time on the floor. We closed down the restaurant Thursday afternoon to get everyone here tested and get the building professionally sanitized. We have had no other positive results within the staff and are hopeful that trend continues. We are also very confident in our safety precautions we take in house- masks always on (both front and back of the house), table and high touch surface wipe downs during service and distancing both inside and out. We will re-open as soon as we get our staff testing results back negative. We are looking as a team on how to adapt to service after the rise in recent area cases. We hate this situation as much as y’all and can’t wait to get to the other side of this. Everyone stay safe and keep those masks up. See y’all soon.
In response to the connection to the Tigerland area, Fred’s announced that it would host COVID-19 testing Thursday, June 25, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in its parking lot at 1184 Bob Pettit Blvd. The testing is in partnership with Neighborhood Health and Relief Telemed. Click here for information about pre-registration.
The state’s Phase Two restrictions are expected to continue until July 24—as long as the numbers go down and residents take necessary precautions. That means restaurants and other businesses will continue with limited capacity at 50%. Bars that don’t have a food permit will remain limited to 25% occupancy.