Downtown businesses adjust to new mask mandate before usually busy July 4th weekend
BATON ROUGE - As businesses in downtown Baton Rouge get used to the new mask mandate, they’re also preparing for the 4th of July weekend.
With no fireworks to light up the Mississippi River this year, one restaurant that is usually packed during the holiday will have its doors closed for a deep COVID cleaning.
A sign posted on the outside of Capital City Grill in downtown reads that people must wear a mask inside when not seated at a table. That same sign and etiquette are now required at all restaurants and bars in Baton Rouge and all unincorporated areas of East Baton Rouge Parish.
“For us, so far, it hasn't changed that much. The mask mandate, we understand it. Everyone so far has been one-hundred percent understanding, everyone has been doing their part. I haven’t had any issues with anyone today,” Capital City Grill General Manager, Daniel Unda said.
Unda says today would normally be calm before the 4th of July storm along the Mississippi River levee. Tens of thousands of people from all around the metro area usually come out for the free festivities before one of the largest fireworks show in the state.
“Easily like 10-20 thousand people come down to Baton Rouge. It’s a huge economic loss for us and for all of downtown. It is easily the busiest day of the summer for us,” Unda said.
Capital City Grill says it's cutting its losses and closing its doors for Saturday's holiday like most of the usual major activities canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“If I'm not mistaken it's the first time since the restaurant opened that we closed on the Fourth of July. We’re actually going to take the steps to sanitize the restaurant a little bit more,” Unda said.
More cleaning, face masks and less foot traffic; those are among the many adjustments that all businesses in downtown have had to get used to.
“We can’t dwell anymore, we just have to keep in mind that we have to keep moving, keeping going, keep being smart about things,” Unda said.
While there won’t be any fireworks along the river this year, you can join WBRZ Saturday night for our firework extravaganza. CLICK HERE for more information.