So How Many Restaurants Will JBE End Up Killing?

A couple of days ago in the Louisiana House of Representatives there was a pretty good little debate over an amendment to HCR 73, a resolution by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder seeking some accountability from Gov. John Bel Edwards regarding his management of the Wuhan coronavirus. The amendment, by Rep. Lance Harris, challenges what is a rather arbitrary rule promulgated by Edwards that restaurants can only serve customers on their premises at a 25 percent capacity.

Fox 44 TV in Baton Rouge captured some of the debate, including a rather nauseating bit of “Blood on your hands!” rhetoric by one of the lesser lights in the Louisiana legislature, Rep. Robby Carter…

Carter’s commentary might be useful, except for something inconvenient to him – namely, the facts.

We’ve now had enough experience with the economic lockdowns around the country to know that they’ve done an astonishingly terrible job of stopping the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. Here’s an interesting little data table for you…

The trend outlined in that table conforms to analysis conducted by JP Morgan which finds that not only does American data debunk the efficacy of lockdowns in the virus’ spread, but so does worldwide data.

You wouldn’t expect a trend like that if Robby Carter, complete with his cloth-mask amulet and purple gloves, was right about how “health” is more important than filthy lucre.

The fact is, there is no evidence to indicate that restricting restaurants to 25 percent capacity is any healthier than 50 percent. If there was, then the real argument Lance Harris and Robby Carter should have been having is whether restaurants, or any other business, should be open at all. Since “health” is more important than filthy lucre.

Or, translated, since Democrats like Robby Carter are indifferent to or outright hostile to business. Other than the plaintiff lawyers who bankrolled Carter’s street-money re-election campaign last year, of course.

Meanwhile, there’s a virtual holocaust going on across the state in which restaurants are throwing in the towel and closing for good. A couple of weeks ago the Baton Rouge location of The Rum House shut its doors; Taco Tuesday there had become a popular tradition. Rama, perhaps the best Thai restaurant in town, similarly shut down. In New Orleans restaurants are dropping like flies even with Edwards’ move to a Phase 1 reopening.

Why? Because restaurants operate on tiny profit margins. You can’t tell them they can reopen, meaning hiring a full kitchen staff, and then give them the ability to serve only 25 percent of their potential customers. It isn’t worth it to them.

Peggy Ratcliff with Dunbar’s Creole Cuisine Uptown, said Monday was the restaurant’s first day of reopening at 25 percent capacity, in addition to offering takeout and delivery.

“Today was a total loss because even with the staff we did bring in, we did not have enough business to cover the costs of even being open,” said Peggy Ratcliff with Dunbar’s Creole Cuisine.

The reduced dine-in capacity is a reality many restaurants across the state are facing.

“We did not even have the 25 percent come in. Nor the takeouts. If today is an indication of what is happening, Dunbar’s is definitely in trouble,” said Ratcliff.

Brigtsen’s, the famous Uptown restaurant in New Orleans, isn’t reopening because at 25 percent they can’t make ends meet. Maybe at 50 percent, which later this summer the governor might magnanimously allow, it would be worth their while.

And restaurant owners were meeting with President Trump this week, who told them “you gotta get back to 100 percent.”

“You’ve got to get 100 percent, okay,” President Trump responded. “I hope it gets up very fast. I hope the governor the governor does that pretty quickly. Let’s see how it goes.”

This isn’t about Trump, though. It’s about Edwards. Edwards could relax his death sentence for the restaurants he’s covering in red ink.

But he won’t. He doesn’t care. There’s no relief in sight for these people, unless the Legislature is willing to do more than just pass resolutions and offer suggestions.

They have the power to end Edwards’ shutdown. So far what they don’t have is the will. So far Robby Carter’s stupid formulation of “health” over “profits” still has too many of them cowed to sign that petition eliminating the emergency.

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