NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans City Hall will further ease restrictions on bars, religious services and outdoor sporting events as the city moves forward into Phase 3.2 of reopening Saturday, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said at a press conference Thursday.
Moving into Phase 3.2 allows outdoor capacity at bars and an increased capacity for indoor timed seated events, like church mass or movie showings. Outdoor sporting events have a higher capacity limit under Phase 3.2 as well.
"I believe the biggest component as it relates to 3.2 is the bars and now their abilities to open outdoor seating only. It will shift them from to go only so we are going forward with their outdoor consumption on premises for our bar community," Mayor Latoya Cantrell said.
She added that many bar owners have applied for grants to gain resources to be able to build out and provide outdoor seating for on premise consumption for 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is less. The plan also includes local breweries with food permits.
Churches can now allow 50% capacity or 500 attendees, whichever is less, according to Cantrell and will be a help for the larger churches who have the space for social distancing.
The following requirements are still in force:
- Masks are required in public, except during personal recreation.
- All activities allowed in Phase 3 must include strict social distancing.
- All businesses must follow the City and State guidelines for safe operations.
Grades Pre-K-12 are back in public school and the mayors office is working with education leaders to make sure the necessary resources are there incase a school receives a positive test result.
Here is a list of the changes for Phase 3.2 as outline by Mayor Cantrell:
- Indoor live entertainment will be allowed with a Special Event Permit in restaurants, indoor event venues, and concert halls. Singing, karaoke, and wind-blown instruments are prohibited indoors.
- Bars and breweries without LDH food permits will be allowed to have outdoor seating of 25% permitted occupancy or 50 individuals, whichever is fewer. Alcohol sales are limited to the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.
- Breweries with an LDH food permit will be allowed to have indoor seating of 25% of permitted occupancy and outdoor seating of 100% permitted occupancy or 50 individuals, whichever is fewer. Alcohol sales are limited to the hours of 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. The City of New Orleans is making this provision in its guidelines because unlike bars, breweries are not eligible to apply for the State’s conditional restaurant permit.
- Houses of worship, movie theaters, and conference venues will be allowed to open for timed, seated events at 50% of permitted occupancy or 500 individuals, whichever is fewer.
- Outdoor stadiums and large arenas will be allowed to have 25% permitted occupancy or 500 individuals, whichever is fewer.
- Concert halls will be allowed to open for timed, seated events at 50% of permitted occupancy or 250 individuals, whichever is fewer, with approval from the State Fire Marshal and the City’s Department of Safety and Permits. Singing, karaoke, and wind-blown instruments are prohibited indoors and alcohol sales are limited to the hours of 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Mayor Cantrell has been in meetings with the Saints administrators as it relates to the capacity of fans in the superdome on game day.
“The Saints have a process in place and as I have allowed for 750 spectators to be in. We have not seen any problems with 750 people which is different with 20,000 people and I feel confident with keeping it at 750 while we continue to measure and to get better and we will get better but it is tied to how we manage to get through.”
The 750 spectators allowed are the family, staff and the friends of the family.
Recently the team has been talking to officials about moving game day to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, the mayor says she thinks it is a good temporary idea since it is an open stadium and they are allowing fans to be present.
The mayor says the city is not at a point yet to have 20,000 fans back inside the Superdome but is looking forward to the day that fans can return.
"We are at a point to be able to enjoy the relaxation but it will be short lived of we don’t do what is necessary to keep this community safe, keep moving forward slow and steady without regression," Mayor Cantrell.