January 25, 2022

Alexandria bar ‘scraping by’ with ongoing COVID restrictions

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) – The shutdowns have been tough for bars across Louisiana. With restrictions…

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) – The shutdowns have been tough for bars across Louisiana. With restrictions easing a bit, some bar owners hope it’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but with St. Patrick’s Day this week, in what’s usually a big night for bars, one Alexandria bar owner said they’re still struggling.

It’s been a sobering year for Bo Edmonds, owner of The Chalet Lounge.

“We are scraping to get by, but we are making it,” said Edmonds.

Edmonds is taking it month by month to keep The Chalet Lounge open and keep his seven employees.

“To be shut down over and over and over and new restrictions every time we reopen,” said Edmonds.

He said it’s the first time he has had to pay out of his pocket since he has owned the Alexandria bar for the past five years.

“We have not broken the violations, we have done everything they ask,” said Edmonds. “We have lost so much money. Oh my God, months of being shut down, months of restrictions and I have spent the money to keep up with the restrictions.”

The governor moved the state to phase three restrictions in early March. For bars, that means 50 percent capacity and live music is allowed indoors. St. Patrick’s Day is usually a big moneymaker for bars, but this year, it’s a normal night for The Chalet Lounge.

“If I have a band, the restriction is I have to have plexiglass up and 20 feet away from the band, you can’t be within 20 feet of the band,” said Edmonds. “There’s a lot of restrictions you have to follow. So, we aren’t going to do anything extremely special.”

But with all the uncertainty, they are holding on to hope.

“It’s taken a crunch on a lot of bar and restaurant owners and I wish this would just go away.”

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