JEFFERSON PARISH, La. — Bars in Jefferson Parish are walking on eggshells after announcements of major restrictions in Orleans Parish for Mardi Gras weekend, and Metairie bartenders say they’re expecting an influx of drinkers from over the parish line.
Jefferson Parish, though, tells Eyewitness News there are currently no plans to change COVID guidelines for the holiday.
“There’s going to be a lot of people on the streets in Metairie, and I think it might get a little bit nasty out here,” said Carrie Hanafy, who has been a bartender for six years.
Her boss, and those in charge of several other bars we spoke to, were scared to bring attention to their businesses for fear of being cited or shut down. Some, who spoke with us off camera, voiced the same concerns.
Many are worried about what will happen in Jefferson Parish, after New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell ordered all bars in the city to close from Friday, February 12th through Mardi Gras Day.
“It’s like a death of Mardi Gras for 2021,” said Hanafy. “People are going to be mourning and they don’t want to be mourning, they want to be out partying doing what they want to do.”
In Jefferson Parish, bars are currently closed to indoor consumption but can allow seating outside up to 50 people. Restaurants are at 50-percent capacity with mask mandates.
A spokesperson from Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng wrote,
“Jefferson Parish does not have a street like Bourbon or Frenchmen where large crowds typically gather; however, we will monitor closely and really keep our eyes on things as we get closer to Mardi Gras to make sure people are adhering to the current mitigation measures in place.”
Bars in Jefferson Parish have been caught breaking the rules.
In late November, Out of Bounds Bar and Grill was cited after a video came to light showing large, unmasked crowds. The bar’s owner questioned the authenticity of the video.
Now, Metairie bartenders are anticipating what may come across the parish line.
“We have security, we have door guys, that’s their job to make sure that the capacity is being controlled and people are in control of themselves inside our establishment. What happens outside the bar is out of our control, and that’s what I’m nervous about,” said Hanafy.
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