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Restaurant owners react to dining restrictions

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BATON ROUGE - Most if not all the tables were empty Monday night at George's near the Perkins Road overpass, a scene owner Smokie Bourgeois and countless other restaurant owners will have to get used to.

"I don't know what to expect, to be honest to you," Bourgeois said. "I don't think anybody you could talk to in this business has got any idea what to expect."

Beginning Tuesday at midnight, bars, casinos, gyms, and movie theaters will close as Governor John Bel Edwards looks to curb the spread of COVID-19, with cases in Louisiana topping 100.

Restaurants are also facing restrictions as meals can only be served by delivery, drive-thru, or takeout. 

"The revenue is not only going to affect us and the businesses," Bourgeois said. "It's also going to affect the city, and the parish, and the state. And to be closed for a month is going to be, I think, absolutely devastating."

George's restaurant won't be able to serve any alcohol, but they will stay open taking to-go orders. 

Bourgeois is still concerned with what diminished sales will mean for those in the food industry.

"I'm going to make it out alright," Bourgeois said. "I don't live big anyway, so it's not going to affect me that much, as far as my day-to-day livelihood. But a lot of these young people...that make this their living, they don't have the backup. They talk about how people live paycheck to paycheck."

Bourgeois expects some businesses won't survive, and with plenty of uncertainty, he's thinking more about his employees than himself.

"I don't want to lose anybody," Bourgeois said. "I don't want any of my people to get hurt, but I mean how am I just going to dole out money."

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