On Friday Governor Edwards laid out the specifics of how Phase Three of relaxing coronavirus restrictions will work. Most notably, bars, closed since mid-July, will be allowed to reopen. But they will be subject to restrictions. They have to be in parishes that have no more than five percent of tests coming back positive over a two-week period. And unlike other businesses that will be allowed to go to 75 percent of their maximum occupancy, bars will be capped at 25 percent, or 50 patrons, whichever is fewer. Health officials say bars were the most common places for community spread that drove the state’s coronavirus numbers up in June and July, after they were allowed to reopen in Phase 2. The spike caused Edwards in mid-July to order bars to close.
Restaurants and casinos will also be required to stop alcohol sales at 10:00 p.m., and sports venues that are allowed to reopen will have no alcohol sales at all. Most other businesses that are operating at 50 percent capacity will be allowed to expand to 75 percent, but social distancing must be observed, and masks must be worn. Casinos will remain at 50 percent of their maximum occupancy, and no more than 75 percent of their gaming tables or machines.