This is the time of year in which restaurants are typically slow. It is hot and it is humid and we don’t have the tourists we normally do during the year.
That’s in a good year, but this year? Who knows who’ll show up and who knows how many locals are willing to eat out?
I am an optimist. I believe that there is a pent-up demand for dining out and that given the lifting of restrictions people want to go out and eat. From what I’ve heard, there’s already a movement in that direction.
I have been vaccinated since March. I have only recently stopped wearing a mask when I go into a grocery store and only because around half of the employees in the grocery stores I patronize are not wearing masks. I suppose I’m rationalizing things, but I decided that if the people who have no choice but to interact with the public are comfortable not wearing masks because they are vaccinated then I should probably do so as well.
There is a part of me that wants to say that the masks were a façade – that wearing a mask was theatre for the most part – but then I’ve read how low the incidence of illnesses like the flu and the common cold were during the pandemic and I realize that wearing masks was the best thing we could do on an individual basis.
But the whole thing – wearing masks and socially distancing and just staying home generally – is going to be hard to overcome.
We need to overcome it, and we need to do that now. This is when our restaurants, night clubs, music venues and bars need locals. This is when we can show our culture bearers that we are not going to give up on them and we’re not going to give up on what makes New Orleans special.
I understand if you’re not comfortable going out to eat yet. It was difficult for me to do and I’m a food writer. But if you’ve been vaccinated, you should start going out again. It’s part of being a New Orleanian and if you are a New Orleanian it’s a part of your soul that I shouldn’t have to remind you about.
I hope we don’t have the normal doldrums this year. I hope we can show our restaurants, clubs and bars that we appreciate them in a tangible way.
I’ll see you out there, right?