NEW ORLEANS – New changes will be underway this weekend as Mayor Cantrell announced phase two updates. With over 1,200 bars in Orleans Parish, many of the owners say, these changes directly impact their business.
“Every time we seem like we’re getting someplace, something else comes down,” said the general manager of The Bulldog, John Slavich.
That was the disappointment of some business owners after Cantrell revealed the phase two reform on Wednesday afternoon. However, health officials say, change was vital.
“It’s very clear from our conversations with the Louisiana Department of Health, that the vast majority of new cases statewide and in Region One are coming from community spread,” Director of New Orleans Department of Health, Dr. Jennifer Avegno explained.
Starting this Saturday at 6 AM – to name a few changes – patrons must wear a mask unless actively eating or drinking, bars are limited to table service only and indoor gatherings are limited to 25 people.
“It’s going to take a comprehensive approach in working with our business owners to render the best solutions possible,” said Cantrell.
While many business owners are understanding of the mayor’s phase two reform, some are frustrated with her decision.
“My biggest concern is that we’re gonna have to actually refuse service to consumers that are coming in that want to sit inside,” President of Port Orleans Brewing Company, Don Noel shared.
Well, that’s not even the tip of the iceberg for Slavich who says, sales are down 25% as compared to this time last year.
“My stress level the past couple of months has been through the roof! I’m worried about my staff not being able to pay their rent,” said Slavich. “I’m going to have to staff up more people and when we do that, they make less money, and then we make less money.”
The hope for Slavich along with many residents and business owners is to get back to normalcy. However, Dr. Avegno says, this can only happen if the city follows the guidelines set in place.
“Those simple actions paired with testing will get us back to a level of viral suppression that can allow for fewer restrictions,” Avegno explained.
Mayor Cantrell also says restaurants cannot allow seating at the physical bar. The outdoor gathering limit has remained at 100 people.