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Monroe restaurants hope capacity easement will bring in big bucks



MONROE, La. – March 3, 2021, is day one of Phase 3 in Louisiana. Tuesday, Governor John Bel Edwards eased COVID restrictions across the state. Now, restaurants are among several other nonessential businesses that can increase their occupancy limit to 75 percent. The occupancy limit was previously 50 percent of capacity.

Local business owners say they’re excited to hear their registers ring more. Restaurant owners say this will mean a lot to their bottom line and customers.

Crawfish season feels a little different at Cormier’s this year.

“So we were right in the middle of crawfish season and we didn’t know what we were going to do but it hurt us a lot in catering. Our restaurant, we couldn’t sit people. That hurt,” recalled manager Jamie Cormier.

Jamie Cormier said the pandemic tanked the restaurant’s revenue by 50 percent or more.

“We were able to survive it, thank goodness. But it put a big damper on us,” Cormier said.

Management plans to include more seating now that they can serve more people.

“75 is going to make a big difference in how many people are allowed to survive in this,” explained Riverside Coney Island Owner Thomas Hardy.

Hardy expects his business to jump 50 to 60 percent with the governor’s latest proclamation. He also credits that uptick with the ability of more vaccines.

“I think the vaccination’s important. I’ve got mine already. My wife’s got hers. We’re trying to get people vaccinated. That’s going to help a lot,” said Hardy.

People say they are starting to feel somewhat normal again with fewer restrictions.

“2020 was hard for everybody so just trying to make our world as normal as possible again and being able to go to restaurants and eat and everything being open again is great,” said Bethany Wilson.