NEW ORLEANS — St. James and St. Charles Parishes will allow bars to open under Governor John Bel Edwards’ Phase Three guidelines.
Thursday, Governor Edwards also announced that restaurants, bars, and casinos will be able to serve alcohol until 11pm.
“Oh that’s great! That would help me tremendously,” said Frank Catalano, owner of Sports Bar and Grill in Destrahan. Catalano found out during our interview that his restaurant, which he’s owned for 17 years, will now be permitted to sell alcohol for an extra hour.
It’s a welcome change, and bars all around the parish will now be opening. Thursday, St. Charles Parish Council voted to adopt the Phase 3 guideline that allows bars to open in parishes with a COVID-19 positivity rate below five percent.
“Obviously we want to get businesses back up and running as quick as possible, get back to normal,” said Parish President Matthew Jewell. “So when we saw that our positivity rate fell below five percent, we were just chomping at the bit to get these businesses back open again.”
St. John Parish is opening bars, too. Parish President Jaclyn Hotard wrote in a statement,
"Our positivity rate is less than 5% due to our strict compliance; therefore, we are able to move into Phase 3. Should our numbers warrant a change to these restrictions, we will immediately make adjustments for the safety of our community."
Bars which are able to open will still have to follow strict rules in place by the state.
- 25% capacity, up to 50 people
- Table Service Only
- All seating must be socially distanced
- Mask mandates when not at your table
The parish can allow bars to stay open as long as the two-week positivity rate does not surpass 10 percent.
St. Charles Parish President Matthew Jewell says it shouldn’t be a problem.
“Personally I don’t see the difference in a bar not having a food… or a bar that doesn’t serve food operating… but you have bars slash restaurants operating in the parish. I don’t see this as something that’s going to cause an uptick,” he said.
Sports Bar and Grill is now up to 75-percent capacity and operating with no bar seating, but Catalano is glad to see things moving in the right direction.
“I’m hoping that we can get back to 100 percent, but we don’t know when that’s going to take place. Because we don’t have a vaccine yet. So that could be in two months, that could be next year, we don’t know,” he said.