New Orleans’ Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced on July 24, 2020, the indefinite shutdown of all bars in the city due to a rise in coronavirus cases. Cantrell also instructed restaurants not to sell alcoholic drinks to go. She did not stop here and warned short-term rental owners that they could lose their licenses if they are found to be organizing big parties at their properties.
Though the city has already restricted gatherings of people, with more than 1,600 people hospitalized and 29 new deaths reported as of July 24, 2020, the city’s department of health found the coronavirus cases going above the threshold.
According to Cantrell, she is aware of the impact of the ban on the bar community but has left with no choice. She expressed her concern over the number of coronavirus cases in New Orleans going from 3% to 6%.
Jennifer Avegno, the city’s health director, supported the ban on bars saying it became necessary after the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s recommendation for the same for Louisiana due to the rising number of cases in the state.
Earlier this month, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has restricted bars state-wide to to-go service only to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which proved to be ineffective as people started to walk the streets with to-go drinks without wearing masks. However, Edwards has been reluctant to take Louisiana back to Phase 1, as suggested by a memo from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, believing it would cause an economic slowdown.
New Orleans has been proactive in its approach toward keeping its people safe from coronavirus. As part of that, it closed its businesses two days ahead of the governor’s first state-wide shutdown announcement in March 2020. Also, the city reopened after Phase 1 and 2 much later than the rest of the state.
Cantrell noted that she is focused on letting students return to classes. However, it has been observed that oversize congregating and rising cases can put the city’s plans on hold.