Area businesses reopen after weeks of coronavirus closures

Michael Tortorich
The Grapevine Cafe on Railroad Avenue in Donaldsonville remained closed during Phase One of reopening. Other Ascension Parish restaurants reopened May 15 with safety guidelines in place.
Photo by Michael Tortorich.

Many local businesses reopened Friday, May 15 after closing during the coronavirus pandemic.

An Ascension Parish salon began taking clients, but the protocol for a simple hair trim was much different than it was before the closures.

Dani Robert, who manages the Supercuts located in Lagniappe Centre at 14639 Airline Hwy. in Gonzales, said the process has caused delays but clients have been understanding of the situation.

“Today was an amazing day,” she said Friday. “It was busy and hectic, and we had times of some very long waits. Our customers were so patient and understanding, though, which helped us accommodate quite a lot of people.”

The state requires a COVID-19 screening form when customers are checked in upon entry. Clients must wear a mask. Color appointments have been limited due to occupancy limitations.

Despite the additional measures to ensure customer and employee safety, Robert said everyone was excited to take a step forward Friday.

“We are all so glad to be back. Customers helped us by taking our new policies in stride. We feel like everyone worked together to keep a safe environment,” she said.

With time, they hope to work efficiently with the new guidelines.

“It’s going to take some getting used to, and our process is a bit slower, but we are going to make this work for everyone,” Robert said.

Several area restaurants reopened their dining rooms Friday with adjustments to adhere to social distancing policies.

Sno’s Seafood and Steak House, located at 13131 Airline Hwy. in Gonzales, shared a video of the dining area to its Facebook page Friday afternoon. The tables were all at least six feet apart, representing 25 percent of the normal capacity.

Previously, the popular restaurant had tables set up under a big tent. Customers were able to get their curbside takeout orders.

The Gonzales Outback Steakhouse, located at 2637 S. Veterans Blvd., posted a list of safety measures taken upon reopening, including daily wellness checks, frequent sanitizing, personal protective equipment, and social distancing. 

Meanwhile on the west bank of the river, The Grapevine Cafe in Donaldsonville did not reopen Friday.

The restaurant’s management said they will not open again until “possibly Phase Three” of the reopening phases.

For the downtown restaurant, servicing just 25 percent of the building’s capacity is not viable for the business and its staff. 

In the meantime, the restaurant has been undergoing renovations.

Other restaurants waited until Monday, May 18, to open. One such business was Starlite Espresso Cafe, located at 514 S. Burnside Ave. in Gonzales.

Starlite has been offering patio seating, takeout, as well as delivery through services like Waitr and DoorDash.

Mike Anderson’s Seafood, at 1500 W. Hwy. 30 in Gonzales, also targeted a Monday reopening. 

“Stay tuned for more details on reopening. We can’t wait to seat and serve everyone!” their social media post stated. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Phase One opening includes restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, malls, gyms, fitness centers, barbers, beauty shops, nail salons, movie theaters, racetracks (not open to spectators), museums, zoos, aquariums, and bars and breweries with LDH food permits.