The bike tires at Flambeaux Bicycle Tours in the French Quarter aren’t spinning like they used to.
“Normally we’d be slammed,” said owner Eric Gabourel. “Today last year we almost had two full tours.”
October should be one of the busiest months of the year for the small business.
“For the rest of the week, counting next weekend, we have zero bookings so it’s a little bit concerning,” said Gabourel.
Gabourel started the business five years ago, relying on tourists to keep the pedals moving.
“Our name is out there. We have a solid reputation,” said Gabourel. “We just don’t have the people coming into this city to actually give us the business.”
With staggered phase three reopening underway in New Orleans, Gabourel hopes more tourists will soon filter back in. With recent weekends seeing spikes in crowds, there is a bit of good news when it comes to new coronavirus cases.
“What happened over Labor Day weekend, here we are three or four weeks later, and we haven’t seen a big uptick in cases. That to me is a win for Labor Day weekend,” said Doctor Michael Wasserman, a pediatrician at Ochsner for Children.
Dr. Wasserman says because of the lag in cause and effect the staggered opening makes sense to ease restrictions, then wait before easing more.
“You’ll know two or three weeks later whether that was a good move or not,” said Dr. Wasserman. “We just have to be patient.”
Being patient isn’t easy for small business owners struggling to keep a grip on the handles.
“I’m very optimistic and that’s all I got going for myself right now is optimism,” said Gabourel. “My goal right now is to make enough to pay the rent and the utilities on this store front.”
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