Wednesday, June 16, 2021

A look at COVID-19 Phase 2 business impact


ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) – For native companies like gyms and eating places, reverting to Section 2 brings one other COVID-19 problem.

Governor Edwards mentioned the restrictions are in response to rising COVID-19 circumstances and hospitalizations throughout the state. Restrictions are set to run out on December 23 however may very well be prolonged. The governor additionally mentioned Central Louisiana is seeing a really sharp enhance in hospitalizations.

“It’s simply been a tough yr. We’re lucky sufficient that we’re nonetheless open,” Embers restaurant proprietor Jennifer Atwood mentioned.

In line with Atwood, despite the fact that Embers is working at 25 p.c capability, payments haven’t been docked to 25 p.c of what they had been earlier than the pandemic.

“We’re nonetheless paying the total quantity,” Atwood mentioned.

In line with Atwood, Embers has been in Section 2 because the state moved to Section 3.

“We simply sort of knew every thing can be up and down,” Atwood mentioned.

She shared her message about being a enterprise proprietor throughout a pandemic.

“When you’ve got a pal or member of the family that owns not only a restaurant, however any single location, non-franchise kind enterprise verify on them as a result of despite the fact that they in all probability say they’re doing okay they’re in all probability not,” Atwood mentioned. “Most enterprise house owners, despite the fact that they smile, they’re not okay. So simply be well mannered to them, be pleasant with everybody. It’s only a making an attempt time. It’s only a time to sort of come collectively and be good to individuals.”

Atwood was compelled to put off most of her workers. She mentioned gross sales are down 65 p.c, and payments are piling up. In line with Atwood, some struggles embrace paying staff, constructing charges, licensing charges and property taxes. All of which she mentioned are coming due very quickly. Embers closed from March to August. She mentioned that everybody ought to patronize native companies in any means attainable like present playing cards, or ordering take-out.

She’s trying ahead for the pandemic to be over, a return to regular and taking a trip. Atwood’s son is a highschool senior and he or she mentioned he’s lacking out on a whole lot of issues that seniors usually expertise. With the vacations, Atwood mentioned earlier than the pandemic Embers can be doing effectively, however not this yr.

“Usually we’d be completely booked for Christmas events, and we have now 4 completely different areas that we have now accessible for events,” Atwood mentioned.

Whereas new clients have inquired to Embers for bookings, and even some regulars, Atwood mentioned they’re simply holding off till the final minute relatively than reserving the events.

“So as an alternative of figuring out forward of time, scheduling, staffing and meals ordering, it’s principally final minute,” Atwood mentioned. “Simply because individuals aren’t positive in the event that they’ll be capable to have events or sort of what the restrictions are going to be. So, all people’s sort of holding off. That’s been fairly tough as a result of that is our busy time of yr the place we do pretty effectively.”

The pandemic created a vacation season like no different.

“You’re not spending it along with your whole household,” Atwood mentioned. “It may be miserable if you’ll, however the one factor I’m glad for is I’m capable of spend extra time with my children and my fast household.”

Atwood mentioned one other shutdown wouldn’t be good for enterprise.

“If that occurred once more, I’m not likely positive if we’d nonetheless be right here. Sadly, I do owe some huge cash on my constructing so I’m undecided the place we’d go from there,” Atwood mentioned. “However, that’s why it’s necessary to get on the market as a result of most companies can’t afford to have one other full shutdown. I do know we will’t.”

Atwood mentioned what’s completely different in Central Louisiana from the remainder of the nation is that this yr we’ve been hit by two hurricanes.

“Now we have by no means been hit this difficult,” Atwood mentioned. “I do know we didn’t have a lot injury that we couldn’t reopen, however we had a whole lot of injury and like many individuals, you’re nonetheless making an attempt to take care of insurance coverage claims, and it’s simply been a tough yr.”

Through the pandemic, the federal government issued stimulus checks to some individuals.

“Lots of people simply don’t perceive that despite the fact that you personally…all people has gotten some stimulus from the federal government,” Atwood mentioned. “Companies actually didn’t.”

She mentioned solely companies that certified for sure loans received authorities assist.

“In the event you ask a enterprise proprietor, most of them didn’t get that cash,” Atwood mentioned. “They’re dwelling off their private financial savings. They didn’t pay one invoice in order that they will pay one other. So simply get out and assist your native enterprise nevertheless you’ll be able to.”

Gyms are additionally having a troublesome time. The Courtyard Well being and Racquet Membership is open for enterprise. Proprietor Heidi McMickens mentioned the Courtyard has devoted members and through the two months they shut down, they reworked to offer the gymnasium a contemporary look. In line with McMickens, members would drive by means of the car parking zone and mentioned they’ve been attending the gymnasium for 20 or 30 years so that they missed being there.

“It was arduous, however you simply must preserve going,” McMickens mentioned. “I needed to give it to God and that’s truthfully how I felt for us to get by means of it. I knew that we’d open again up, and it was scary truthfully as a result of I didn’t know what opening again up was going to deliver.”

In line with McMickens, individuals could also be scared to go to the gymnasium as a result of they don’t know what’s occurring.

“We’re very clear, there are guidelines to observe now, and what’s nice is our members are simply appreciative, excited to be again, they usually’ll do no matter rule I’ll ask them to,” she mentioned.

McMickens and her husband personal The Courtyard.

“Once we closed down for these few months it harm us financially,” McMickens mentioned. “My husband and I made positive that we didn’t cost anyone whereas we had been down. As a lot as we wanted to remain up on every thing, that is our household and we couldn’t make them pay for one thing that wasn’t open. So, it was arduous on the monetary half being closed.”

In the event you’re nervous about going to the gymnasium, McMickens’ recommendation is to take a look at your gymnasium first, discover out what they’re implicating and what their measures are.

“Regardless in case you go to the gymnasium or not, that is the time greater than ever that it’s essential to transfer. That you must train,” McMickens mentioned. “I make every thing very snug, however even when not, transfer your physique. You may nonetheless stroll exterior, you’ll be able to nonetheless transfer as a result of presently we should be bodily in higher form, but in addition mentally. And exercising makes you are feeling higher mentally and that’s an important is to maintain shifting. We’re secure. We guarantee that all our measures are adopted and all people that comes may be very respectful of it.

Section 2 doesn’t have an effect on the Courtyard as a result of, in accordance with McMickens, they’ve all the time caught to Section 1 for everybody’s security.

“Fortunately being over 20,000 sq. ft, we’re large enough and two-story the place individuals could be all through,” McMickens mentioned.

She additionally modified her lecture rooms through the pandemic to fulfill social distancing pointers and accommodated 60-year-old friends or these with underlying situations with their very own room. The Courtyard has sanitizing stations, requires a visitor questionnaire and temperature checks. Additionally they have a clear pen cup, require masks and sanitize incessantly. The gymnasium makes positive everybody stays in their very own house. McMickens positioned plexiglass to guard staff.

Louisiana Athletic Membership Supervisor Ronnie Schwartz defined how the pandemic has impacted their open gymnasium.

“The challenges have been getting individuals again to the gymnasium, seeing that we’re doing every thing we will to make it secure for them,” Schwartz mentioned. “I perceive it’s a scary time of the yr for them and individuals are nervous about this, however we’re open.”

The Louisiana Athletic Membership has a full workers of individuals cleansing gear on a regular basis, everybody practices every day social distancing, friends fill out questionnaires, masks are required and temperature is checked.

“It’s a incontrovertible fact that train can preserve you from catching it, and we simply guarantee that these individuals perceive that we’re right here for them and we wish them to be right here,” Schwartz mentioned.

Due to the gymnasium’s dimension, the LAC by no means actually hit 75 p.c capability.

“The truth that we will go just about wherever within the gymnasium and also you’re not going to be crowded with lots of people in each areas is similar means,” Schwartz mentioned.

The LAC is ensuring individuals are in tune with the protocols. Schwartz is trying ahead to the day the pandemic is over.

“Now we have a gracious God. He’s there for us. We simply want to recollect what’s necessary. Methods to handle individuals,” Schwartz mentioned.

He mentioned that the LAC isn’t being impolite by asking individuals to put on masks however doing what’s proper, and no matter it takes to curb the virus.

“Our members are an important factor for us. If we misplaced a member due to COVID, it simply didn’t harm one particular person it hurts all people as a result of we’re a really close-knit household, “Schwartz mentioned.

The Courtyard shares a gym-family bond too.

“Not seeing our members and being with our members each day,” McMickens mentioned. “I believe challenges are we prefer to hug one another. Everyone knows one another and to now are available and all people keep six ft away and there are not any hugs. A few of the personalness is gone on that half.”

Atwood desires to remind everybody it’s extra necessary than ever to assist small companies.

“Native locations don’t actually have large companies behind them, paying for promoting, being there to catch them in the event that they fall,” Atwood mentioned. “So, exit and simply assist them.”

The Courtyard Well being and Racquet Membership and Louisiana Athletic Membership didn’t cost their members whereas they had been closed. LAC is open every day and has specials, and Atwood mentioned Embers has 4 positions open.

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