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Gov. John Bel Edwards Extends Order Closing Bars in Louisiana

Louisiana’s phase 2 restrictions will remain in place until at least September 11

A corner bar in New Orleans’s French Quarter is pictured closed and boarded up with green shutters
Bars in Louisiana will remain closed an additional two weeks
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

During a press conference about Hurricane Laura on Wednesday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that he is extending his executive order closing bars in the state for at least an additional two weeks.

The current order closes bars to on-premise consumption, caps restaurant and casino capacity at 50 percent, and mandates masks statewide. Originally introduced in mid July, phase 2 restrictions were previously extended until August 7, then again through this Friday, August 28. Phase 2 will now remain in place through at least September 11.

The governor’s order allows bars to offer curbside/takeout service, but bars in New Orleans remain closed entirely in accordance with Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s ban on the sale of takeout alcohol (including from restaurants). The Mayor has said that her order, announced July 24 and effective July 25, will remain in place “until we move into a position of better health in the City of New Orleans.”

Gov. Edwards cited a call with Dr. Birx from the White House’s COVID Task Force on Wednesday, saying she still had concerns about the state of coronavirus in Louisiana. Additionally, he said, “We’re basically going to be blind for this week because we’ll have to discontinue much of our community based testing” due to Hurricane Laura. Laura “comes at a particularly bad time for us,” since K-12 education recently resumed and students moved onto college campuses. “This is when you’d really want to see if we have increased cases.”

Over the weekend, a second federal judge in Louisiana upheld the governor’s closure of bars, ruling in favor of Gov. Edwards in a lawsuit filed by 11 bar owners. The judge, and a federal judge in New Orleans earlier in the week, said that the closure was legal under the “broad public health emergency powers of the governor.”

The Louisiana Department of Health reported 844 more coronavirus cases and 32 more deaths in its noon update Wednesday.

Eater is tracking the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the city’s restaurant industry. Have a story to share? Reach out at nola@eater.com.

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