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French Quarter businesses struggle to stay open with new restrictions

Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 10:38 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Though they’re allowed to stay open, some say the latest restrictions on bars are having a devastating effect on their bottom line, especially in the French Quarter.

Some business owners call it phase 1.5.

Known as Bloody Mary, this French Quarter business owner showcases the darker side of the city. But she needs the living to turn a profit.

The businesses on both sides of the place are bars and right now, both of them are closed, meaning far fewer potential customers for Bloody Mary’s.

Bloody Mary is a haunted museum and they also offer ghost tours and paranormal investigations.

Technically, bars are allowed to be open but only for curbside service. Mary says that won't cut it in New Orleans.

At a Thursday press conference, Governor John Bel Edwards again explained his reasoning for prohibiting bars from serving customers inside, saying the state has traced more COVID-19 cases to bars than any other setting. While Summer is always slower during Summer months, according to New Orleans tourism leaders, occupancy rates are down 50-percent in New Orleans. Revenue, also.

Gallery Owner Anne Lane says the uncertainty can, at times, be maddening. After opening up as soon as the law allowed, Lane's cautious optimism plummeted when she learned of the latest restrictions.

“This is a disaster. I cannot tell you how upset I was when I learned we were shutting down again,” Lane said.

Like Mary, Lane says foot traffic has drastically declined in the last week, making her second-guess the gallery's future.

Fortunately, both believe they’ve generated enough cash to stay open for the foreseeable future, but they say closure could be imminent if the city’s draw doesn’t stay intact.

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