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City leaders working with businesses to safely reopen Baton Rouge

3 months 4 days 11 hours ago Wednesday, May 06 2020 May 6, 2020 May 06, 2020 6:59 PM May 06, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - City leaders are drawing up a plan to restart the economy.

Mayor Sharon Weston-Broome assembled a group made up of city officials and even local business leaders. Their main goal is to come up with ways to reopen the city's economy safely.

To-go orders are hot on the menu at Mestizo's Louisiana Mexican Cuisine. Since the coronavirus shutdown, owner Jim Urdiales is still adjusting to the changes. 

"It's going to be interesting for all of us to get back to somewhat of a normal schedule," he said.

Jim's restaurant is one of the key businesses comprising Mayor Sharon Weston Broome's advisory group on restarting the economy, once the stay at home orders lift. 

"There is a lot of liabilities out there and risk-taking for business owners. But at the same time, everyone just wants to get back to work. But you have to be smart about how you do it," Urdiales said. 

The committee held its first meeting this afternoon for the mayor's "Restart Baton Rouge" initiative.  It's made up of business and industry groups from across the capital area, including representatives from fields hit particularly hard, like restaurants and tourism. 

"We want the leaders in this community to recognize the value of what tourism brings to Baton Rouge. Not only with the hotels, but with the attractions, the restaurants, etc.," said Paul Arrigo, with Visit Baton Rouge. 

City leader Veneeth Iyengar says the group cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to reopening Baton Rouge.

"We're going to have to discuss testing and how to get restaurants and businesses ready for phase one... Also discuss how do we create a much more resilient economy," he said.

As for Jim, the challenge for him and his colleagues is giving that green light with the right precautions in place. 

"Support BR. Let's go out and let's get ready. Let's be safe, but let's buy local as much as we can," he said.

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