Starting Saturday, July 11, restaurants and bars in New Orleans will be restricted to table service only, meaning no bar seating or standing allowed. Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced the new restrictions at a press conference held Wednesday.
Two new restrictions are meant to tackle community spread of COVID-19, which New Orleans Health Department director Dr. Jennifer Avegno said accounts for the majority of new cases. Because current clusters in the state stem from bars and social gatherings, Avegno said that “restricting bars to table service only and limiting indoor gatherings to 25 will help minimize the risks to not only individuals and customers but also employees and staff.” She noted that Louisiana currently has the fourth highest rate of new cases per capita in the country, and that “we all know, as Louisiana goes, so goes New Orleans.”
Late last month Mayor Cantrell and Dr. Avegno warned that if the city continued to see the rate of COVID-19 cases rise substantially, some restrictions could be reintroduced. That followed Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’s announcement that the state would not move forward with loosening further restrictions, instead maintaining the phase two occupancy rules of 25 percent for bars and 50 percent for restaurants. Orleans Parish bars and restaurants can continue to operate at those capacities, with bar seating prohibited at both. The 25-person limit applies only to indoor events or private gatherings held inside restaurants or bars.
New Orleans’s Director of Code Enforcement Winston Reid also spoke about the increased enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines announced last month, saying that “as we make these changes in our restrictions, our boots on the ground will be visible. For those who don’t think we will carry out our task and function, you will see. It is important that as a city, we come together, take this seriously, and do our part.”
[UPDATE: July 8, 2020]: This post was updated to reflect that only indoor events are limited to 25 people, and that bars can continue to operate at 25 percent and restaurants at 50 percent capacity.
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