New Rules Will Be a Challenge for Bars and Restaurants

NEW ORLEANS – New city and state rules shutting down bars and banning dine-in service at restaurants will create big challenges for many owners and employees.

Of the 1200 or so restaurants in Orleans Parish, many are small businesses ill-equipped to deal with even a temporary loss in income.

Steve Watson, co-owner of the Kingpin bar on Lyons Street and Midway Pizza on Freret, is preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.

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Kingpin, which has a small staff, will basically just shut down for the next month. Over at Midway, meanwhile, they will transition into a takeout and delivery enterprise. The servers will be able to work answering the phone and taking orders.

“This will be like our early summer,” said Watson. “And if this can make a change and we’re out of the crisis sooner than later then I’m all for shutting things down to get it under control. It’s not anybody’s fault.

“People will come in to get their pizza and take off. We’ll try to create a safest environment possible because we have people who rely on us for their jobs. If we can break even, pay the people who work for us and provide a good service, I’m all for it.”

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Watson said it helps that a lot of his crew is used to dealing with adversity.

“For better or worse, three quarters of the staff has been through two hurricanes, although this particular situation is all new,” he said. “At least a hurricane had an end to it. No one really knows when this is going to end. It’s also different because the whole country is going through it together.”

As for the Kingpin, Watson said it’ll just sit the next few weeks out.

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“We’ll lock the door and empty the video poker machines,” he said. “And at some point I’ll have to go in there to get a couple bottles of vodka cause this situation is going to last a while …”

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