Port Allen restaurant manager says he’s concerned following COVID-19 spike

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) –  Blaine Tooley manages DC’s Grill in Port Allen. He says business is picking up following Governor Edwards relaxed COVID-19 guidelines, but he remains overly cautious because of the latest coronavirus numbers.

“I am a little nervous that we would end up having to shut down,” Tooley says.

Like most, the restaurant was suffering during the height of the pandemic. Tooley says he doesn’t know if they can survive another shutdown.

“It is just a small homegrown business,” Tooley says.

The parish has an 11.8% positivity rate. It is one of the highest in the state. In comparison, East Baton Rouge positivity rate is 3.9%, and Pointe Coupee is 1.7%. West Baton Rouge Parish President Riley Berthelot says he believes the spike is a result of people bringing it from other parishes.

“We got people who attend LSU, Southern University, and Baton Rouge Community College,” Berthelot says. “[People travel to] all these schools back and forth… We don’t have these facilities in West Baton Rouge Parish so we have a lot of people who transfer across parish lines into other communities.”

Despite the increase, Berthelot says he has no plans on implementing any new restrictions but encourages everyone to get vaccinated. This comes as a West Baton Rouge clinic canceled its mass vaccination drive-thru event which was supposed to administer the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Berthelot says the one-shot vaccine was popular in his parish, and he’s concerned people won’t get vaccinated until that particular one is offered again.

“Now that [Johnson and Johnson] is off the market, they don’t want to take two shots,” Berthelot says.

To see where your parish stands in the fight against COVID-19 you can visit ldh.la.gov.

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