Reduced capacity for restaurants and a ban on indoor service at bars will remain in place through at least February 10, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Current guidelines cap restaurant capacity at 50 percent statewide and prohibit bars from serving patrons inside in parishes with a higher than five percent COVID-19 positivity rate. Currently, no parish in Louisiana is reporting numbers under the governor’s positivity rate threshold required to allow indoor service at bars.
Gov. Edwards’s “modified phase 2” restrictions, first put into place on November 25 and extended once already, were set to expire tomorrow, January 13. Under the guidelines, maximum occupancy at restaurants is 50 percent indoors and 100 percent outdoors, and bars, where closed for indoor service, can offer to-go drinks and outdoor service at 100 percent capacity.
Until two weeks ago, New Orleans was the only parish left in the state with a low enough positivity rate to keep bars open for indoor service. New Orleans bars and breweries had to join the rest of Louisiana and cease indoor service on Wednesday, December 30, after the city’s second week in a row with a higher than five percent positivity rate. Last week, when the rate of positive COVID-19 tests in New Orleans reached 10.4 percent, city officials announced it was restoring “modified phase 1” guidelines, reducing indoor restaurant capacity from 50 to 25 percent. The reduced capacity for restaurants will remain in place for New Orleans through at least January 29.
Gov. Edwards said Tuesday that “cases in hospitalizations are increasing in every region” and that the state “remains in a precarious place.” On Friday, January 8, Louisiana reported the second highest number of COVID deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
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