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New Orleans businesses would keep list of customers under Mayor's reopening plan

There are still a lot of questions about how this will work for each business

NEW ORLEANS — It will be a different world when businesses begin to reopen after the stay at home order expires. 

The City of New Orleans has released "safe reopening" procedures. That includes guidance for businesses to keep track of everyone who comes into their establishment.

"It just seems like, kind of like after Katrina, every week there is some new challenge that you're dealing with and it's hard to get a routine going," said Rusty White, owner of The Wrong Iron and Velvet Cactus. "We'll do whatever it takes to get back open."

Right now, New Orleans is still under the Stay at Home Order, but once we start to come out of that, Mayor LaToya Cantrell wants every business to keep a record of everyone who enters their establishment. This will help the Louisiana Department of Health track who a sick person may have come into contact with. It's a process called "contact tracing."

"Making sure you can follow people who have either been exposed to COVID or had COVID," said New Orleans City Councilmember, Joe Giarrusso.

A spokesperson with the City of New Orleans sent us this statement:

"The details are still being worked out regarding how contact tracing will be managed once we begin loosening Stay Home restrictions, but businesses will be expected to play a role and to have a plan in place to help track employees and clients in their space."

Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., said business owners he's spoken to want to do whatever it takes to protect their employees and customers, but have concerns.

"One is privacy of customer data and whether customers even want to give this data and also the practical concerns. How this actually would work in practice and what would happen with the data," Hecht said.

White already keeps track of customers at The Wrong Iron.

"What we had already been using at The Wrong Iron because we I.D. everyone who comes in, is a scanner. So you show me your I.D., I scan it, there's no phone number, but it gives me when you came in, what the date was and information from your driver's license," White said. "We want to be part of the solution. We don't want to be part of the problem. We're going to play by the rules and do our part."

There are still a lot of questions about how this will work for each business, but businesses are encouraged to start developing a plan now.

You can read more about the city's 'safe reopening' plans HERE.

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