Cenla businesses fear another shutdown

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 7:05 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - With the rise of COVID-19 cases in the southern states, especially in Texas and Florida, many are beginning to wonder if Louisiana will be next in applying more restrictions and backtracking on the progress that was made.

“I’m very worried. This is my livelihood,” said Gary Perkins, the owner of Wildwood Pizza in Alexandria. Wildwood Pizza has already had to shut down once during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Perkins is worried that it could happen again. Perkins said, “We thought that as a society in Louisiana that this was going to go away. It’s not going away and we’re going to have to accept that.”

In the last 24 hours, Texas began scaling back on restaurant dining, and Florida suspended on-premises alcohol consumption at bars.

Ben Givens, the owner of The Stick and Daiquiri Zone, said, “Well I don’t think it’s right for one to shut down and target just bars. I’m just trying to understand why they are just targeting bars and not any other businesses.”

Dr. David Holcombe from the Region 6 Office of Public Health says that the biggest reasons for the restrictions in bars and restaurants are because of the increase in coronavirus cases with the younger population. “Major increases are occurring in the 18 to 29-year-old groups, and these are community cases, not cases coming from nursing homes or other cognitive facilities,” said Holcombe.

The federal goal is to keep the percent of positive cases under 10 percent and currently, Louisiana is at 7.8 percent. As of today, the state’s total number of deaths because of COVID-19 is over 3000 since the start of the pandemic. Holcombe says talks are continuing in the state about what to do if the problem gets worse, but as for the business owners, they’re trying to stay optimistic about the future, but it is worrisome.

“Do I think we’re going to be next? I do. I hope not, but I do,” said Givens.

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