New Orleans restaurants prepare to open on Saturday

Updated: May. 15, 2020 at 9:54 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Eager for progress, many business owners aren't wasting any time registering their businesses with the fire marshal's office to open their doors.

It means adhering to a strict new set of rules for safety.

Due to these safety guidelines, many businesses, like Katie’s, are thinking creatively to meet those guidelines and make their customers feel safe, while also making money, but it may be more difficult for some.

Friday nights these days, It's standard to see empty parking lots along the lakefront.

But Nick Asprodites, the owner of the Blue Crab, hopes things begin to look a little different around here with the start of Phase One, Saturday.

“We are going to have pretty much our full menu,” Asprodites said. “It's going to be great. I mean I hope the city does well. We have to get past this.”

Asprodites equipped his dining areas with hands-free menus.

“If you have an iPhone, you take a picture of it in the manual pull up,” Asprodites said.

And though reservations are required per parish rules, he'll have four tables available for walk-ins. These with X's are the only ones that'll be used, each spaced 10 feet apart. All employees are wearing masks, too.

These rules plus more are required for businesses to expand their services, like restaurants currently focused on take-out.

At first, owner Scot Craig was concerned about how he’d stay in the black if he only operated at 25-percent capacity inside his restaurant, Katie’s.

“We have this and outdoor seating is opening up new avenues for us to do well,” Craig said, “And feel a little bit of the Katie's Atmosphere that we had before.”

Though these restaurant owners are optimistic, some small business owners are still on edge.

Salon D Nola owner Dianna Thomas-Weder tells us it'll take a month or two before she knows whether she can turn a profit in her French Quarter salon.

The city has more stringent rules for hair and nail salons.

“It's just me so I'll be doing basically everything the next three weeks. I'm booked out. Completely,” Thomas-Weder said.

Being busy is a good problem to have but her staff is still out of work, her biggest money maker, weddings, still a long way off.

“I’m optimistic we can get back to some kind of norm, but I don’t know how we’ll do that without a vaccine,” Thomas-Weder said.

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