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New Orleans Extends Closing Time for Bars

Bars can stay open until 1 a.m. and the hours for alcohol sales extended starting Friday, April 9

Closing time at bars in New Orleans extended until 1 a.m.
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Bars in New Orleans will be able to stay open later and the hours for alcohol sales extended, the city announced Friday. Starting today, April 9, bars, restaurants, and music venues in New Orleans can stay open and serve alcohol until 1 a.m., and alcohol sales in the city’s “entertainment district” are allowed between the hours of 6 a.m. and 1 a.m, extended from the previous hours of 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

New Orleans’s updated modified phase three guidelines extend the closing time at bars by two hours from 11 p.m., a move that has been urged by a number of local bar owners in recent weeks. The change comes a week and a half after Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards lifted all restrictions for bars and restaurants, allowing 100 percent indoor capacity and removing restrictions on when they can serve alcohol, with the caveat that he would “default” to local guidances. Before then, the 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales at bars and restaurants was a statewide mandate.

In terms of packaged liquor sales in the French Quarter and CBD, “service and sales of alcoholic beverages, whether for consumption on or off premises, and including packaged alcohol sales, shall only occur between the hours of 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. in the entertainment district,” the city said in a statement Friday. Previously, packaged alcohol sales from convenience stores and groceries were limited between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. in these two neighborhoods, though not restricted in other parts of Orleans Parish. The city defines the entertainment district as “all areas bounded by the Mississippi River, the center line of Esplanade Avenue, the center line of Rampart Street, and the center line of Common Street.”

Last week, New Orleans made minor changes to its modified phase three guidelines, allowing larger indoor and outdoor gatherings and more people at indoor and outdoor sporting events, but not lifting bar and restaurant restrictions with the rest of the state. In New Orleans, indoor capacity at restaurants remains capped at 75 percent, and at 50 percent for bars and breweries. All three are allowed to serve at 100 percent capacity outside. Indoor gatherings of up to 150 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people are allowed, indoor sports venues can host 25 percent of their capacity, and outdoor sports venues can open at 50 percent capacity.

The COVID-19 positivity rate in New Orleans is currently under one percent, the city also said Friday, and 37 percent of Orleans Parish residents have received at least one vaccine shot, with nearly 25 percent fully vaccinated.

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