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 instances and hospitalizations throughout the state. Restrictions are set to run out on December 23 however could possibly be prolonged. The governor additionally mentioned Central Louisiana is seeing a really sharp enhance in hospitalizations.
“It’s simply been a tough 12 months. We’re lucky sufficient that we’re nonetheless open,” Embers restaurant proprietor Jennifer Atwood mentioned.
In response to Atwood, although 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 response to Atwood, Embers has been in Section 2 for the reason that state moved to Section 3.
“We simply sort of knew every little thing could be up and down,” Atwood mentioned.
She shared her message about being a enterprise proprietor throughout a pandemic.
“In case you have a good friend 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 although they in all probability say they’re doing okay they’re in all probability not,” Atwood mentioned. “Most enterprise house owners, although 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 folks.”
Atwood was compelled to put off most of her employees. She mentioned gross sales are down 65 p.c, and payments are piling up. In response to Atwood, some struggles embody paying workers, 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 doable like reward playing cards, or ordering take-out.
She’s wanting ahead for the pandemic to be over, a return to regular and taking a trip. Atwood’s son is a highschool senior and she or he 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 could be doing nicely, however not this 12 months.
“Usually we’d be completely booked for Christmas events, and now we have 4 completely different areas that now we have obtainable for events,” Atwood mentioned.
Whereas new prospects have inquired to Embers for bookings, and even some regulars, Atwood mentioned they’re simply holding off till the final minute slightly than reserving the events.
“So as a substitute of figuring out forward of time, scheduling, staffing and meals ordering, it’s mainly final minute,” Atwood mentioned. “Simply because folks 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, everyone’s sort of holding off. That’s been fairly tough as a result of that is our busy time of 12 months the place we do pretty nicely.”
The pandemic created a vacation season like no different.
“You’re not spending it together with your whole household,” Atwood mentioned. “It may be miserable if you’ll, however the one factor I’m glad for is I’m in a position to spend extra time with my children and my rapid 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 12 months we’ve been hit by two hurricanes.
“Now we have by no means been hit this tough,” Atwood mentioned. “I do know we didn’t have a lot harm that we couldn’t reopen, however we had a whole lot of harm and like many individuals, you’re nonetheless making an attempt to cope with insurance coverage claims, and it’s simply been a tough 12 months.”
Through the pandemic, the federal government issued stimulus checks to some folks.
“Lots of people simply don’t perceive that although you personally…everyone has gotten some stimulus from the federal government,” Atwood mentioned. “Companies actually didn’t.”
She mentioned solely companies that certified for sure loans obtained authorities assist.
“In case you ask a enterprise proprietor, most of them didn’t get that cash,” Atwood mentioned. “They’re residing off their private financial savings. They didn’t pay one invoice in order that they’ll pay one other. So simply get out and assist your native enterprise nonetheless you may.”
Gyms are additionally having a tricky time. The Courtyard Well being and Racquet Membership is open for enterprise. Proprietor Heidi McMickens mentioned the Courtyard has trustworthy members and in the course of the two months they shut down, they reworked to offer the health club a contemporary look. In response to McMickens, members would drive by the parking zone and mentioned they’ve been attending the health club for 20 or 30 years in order that they missed being there.
“It was exhausting, however you simply need to maintain going,” McMickens mentioned. “I needed to give it to God and that’s truthfully how I felt for us to get by 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 convey.”
In response to McMickens, folks could also be scared to go to the health club as a result of they don’t know what’s taking place.
“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.
“After 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 little thing, that is our household and we couldn’t make them pay for one thing that wasn’t open. So, it was exhausting on the monetary half being closed.”
In case you’re anxious about going to the health club, McMickens’ recommendation is to take a look at your health club first, discover out what they’re implicating and what their measures are.
“Regardless in case you go to the health club or not, that is the time greater than ever that it is advisable transfer. You might want to train,” McMickens mentioned. “I make every little thing very comfy, however even when not, transfer your physique. You may nonetheless stroll exterior, you may nonetheless transfer as a result of right now we have to be bodily in higher form, but in addition mentally. And exercising makes you’re feeling higher mentally and that’s an important is to maintain transferring. We’re secure. We make it possible for all our measures are adopted and everyone that comes could be very respectful of it.
Section 2 doesn’t have an effect on the Courtyard as a result of, in response to McMickens, they’ve at all times caught to Section 1 for everybody’s security.
“Fortunately being over 20,000 sq. ft, we’re sufficiently big and two-story the place folks may be all through,” McMickens mentioned.
She additionally modified her school rooms in the course of the pandemic to fulfill social distancing pointers and accommodated 60-year-old visitors 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 continuously. The health club makes positive everybody stays in their very own area. McMickens positioned plexiglass to guard workers.
Louisiana Athletic Membership Supervisor Ronnie Schwartz defined how the pandemic has impacted their open health club.
“The challenges have been getting folks again to the health club, seeing that we’re doing every little thing we will to make it secure for them,” Schwartz mentioned. “I perceive it’s a scary time of the 12 months for them and individuals are anxious about this, however we’re open.”
The Louisiana Athletic Membership has a full employees of individuals cleansing tools on a regular basis, everybody practices day by day social distancing, visitors fill out questionnaires, masks are required and temperature is checked.
“It’s a incontrovertible fact that train can maintain you from catching it, and we simply make it possible for these folks perceive that we’re right here for them and we wish them to be right here,” Schwartz mentioned.
Due to the health club’s dimension, the LAC by no means actually hit 75 p.c capability.
“The truth that we will go just about anyplace within the health club and also you’re not going to be crowded with lots of people in each places is identical means,” Schwartz mentioned.
The LAC is ensuring individuals are in tune with the protocols. Schwartz is wanting 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. Learn how to maintain folks,” Schwartz mentioned.
He mentioned that the LAC isn’t being impolite by asking folks 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 individual it hurts everyone 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 feel challenges are we prefer to hug one another. Everyone knows one another and to now are available in and everyone keep six ft away and there aren’t any hugs. A few of the personalness is gone on that half.”
Atwood needs to remind everybody it’s extra necessary than ever to assist small companies.
“Native locations don’t actually have massive 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 day by day and has specials, and Atwood mentioned Embers has 4 positions open.
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