Creole Creamery Adapts to ‘Social Distancing’

Photo by Rich Collins

NEW ORLEANS – Business owners citywide are having to adapt to the new rules put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, the highly contagious disease that’s disrupting economies worldwide.

David Bergeron, owner of the city’s two Creole Creamery ice cream shops, said he’s fortunate that his business was already built for takeout. Nevertheless, COVID-19 has forced him to make a lot of big changes to his crew’s day-to-day routine.

“We’re really trying to minimize the contact between the patrons themselves and our employees,” said Bergeron. “We’re not offering samples at this time. Everything has to be to go. No glassware. We ask customers to use the hand sanitizer unit we installed at the door and of course we have a protocol behind the counter. We sanitize after every interaction – so I can safely say our shop is cleaner than it’s ever been.”

Under normal circumstances, it’s common to drive by the Creole Creamery on Prytania Street and see a line of people outside and sitting at every table inside. Now, Bergeron estimates business is down to about 30 percent of its normal volume, which actually makes it easier for the staff to follow the new virus-prevention rules. 

All the freestanding tables have been removed. Chairs are stacked on top of the booth tables. Staff members ask customers to keep their distance from each other while they place their orders. And, in a variation of “be nice or leave,” the new mantra is “be nice … and leave as soon as you’ve got your ice cream …”

In addition, servers use hand sanitizer between every customer interaction and the staff cleans the display glass and work areas regularly.

It’s unclear how long the restaurant scene in the city will be disrupted but, like all other small business owners, Bergeron said he’ll do what he can for as long as he can to take care of his customers while following rules to keep people as safe as possible.

“This is such a dynamic situation,” he said. “I haven’t been able to predict what’s going to happen day to day, much less week to week or what’s going to be happening next month. I think every day people have to make the best decisions they can for their business, their customers and their employees and take it from there.”

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