A new task force will ramp up enforcement of COVID-19 safety guidelines at New Orleans restaurants, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a press conference Wednesday. The announcement of increased inspections follows complaints against the Lakefront location of Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar and Irish Channel bar Tchoup Yard for hosting a group that has since been linked to a local cluster of coronavirus cases.
The Mayor announced the task force — to include New Orleans Department of Code Enforcement, the NOPD, and state agencies — in a press conference in which she also warned that with local cases on the rise, “if the city has to shut down we will do that, without any hesitation at all.”
NOLA.com obtained emails through a public records request showing that city and state health officials are investigating Felix’s and Tchoup Yard after each hosted Isidore Newman high school graduation parties in late May. The president of Felix’s Restaurant Group Robbie Orgeron confirmed to WWL that the Louisiana Department of Health inspected the popular lakefront seafood restaurant on Tuesday, saying that it had “followed the rules” and that “we have never had one of our employees test positive” for the virus. The Tchoup Yard has not responded to WWL or NOLA.com’s report.
COVID-19 cases are accelerating in New Orleans, with the city averaging 32 cases per day since Saturday. The Mayor and City Health Department Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno said Wednesday that if the city sustains a growth rate averaging 50 cases per day, some restrictions could be reintroduced.
Along with the rest of Louisiana, New Orleans will not move forward with loosening further restrictions at this time, for now maintaining the current phase two occupancy rules of no more than 25 percent capacity for bars and 50 percent for restaurants.
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- Safety inspectors enforce COVID-19 guidelines at New Orleans restaurants [WWL]
- LaToya Cantrell: Abide by coronavirus restrictions or New Orleans will be shut down [NOLA.COM]
- Felix’s, Tchoup Yard under city scrutiny after hosting Newman grads linked to coronavirus cluster [NOLA.COM]
- Phase 3 in Louisiana put off amid coronavirus spike; here’s how long Phase 2 might last [ADVOCATE]