Some New Orleans business owners say a delay in Phase Two will be crippling

New Orleans may lag behind as State enters into Phase II

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As New Orleans city leaders announced a possible delay in the start of Phase Two, some business owners say they’re patiently waiting, while others say the delay will be financially devastating.

Mayor Latoya Cantrell and public health leaders say that while the city hasn't seen a big spike in new cases, gatherings from Memorial Day weekend may change that.

To be safe, city leaders say New Orleans may enter Phase Two slower than the rest of the state.

For some business owners, it means holding out even longer.

"For something like that to get yanked away like that and be crippled, it's a devastating blow. no question about it," Fit Therapy and SMX Owner Emile Tujague said.

Tujague, the owner of two gyms in New Orleans, said he was looking forward to opening back up group classes in Phase Two. He now worries business will go towards neighboring parishes that reopen sooner.

"All of these people that we could've had an opportunity to welcome into our studio now have contracts, now have packages somewhere else, and that leaves us struggling that much further. We're going deeper and deeper into a hole," Tujague said.

Bars were also supposed to reopen in Phase Two.

"We're known as a sports bar, and definitely are a sports bar, and that's where our biggest revenue comes from. So it's been a bit of a change switching from being a bar into being a restaurant," Cooter Brown's Owner Jeff O'Bryon said.

O'Bryon said they've been making a quarter of their normal profits, but understands the city's decision.

“We’re doing everything we can to keep people separate and at a distance, and offering table service and changing the entire way the bar has been open and trying to do it in a safe way. So we’re happy to do whatever the city tells us to do,” O’Bryon said.

“I’d prefer to wait a little longer than get back on the streets earlier. It just seems like taking precautions at this point is probably better for everybody if we take it a little slower, see how things go, see what the data says, and just make sure that we’re opening up at a safe time,” Anna Brodrecht said.

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