NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Mayor Latoya Cantrell is expected to announce the city’s move into Phase 3.2 Thursday.
The move would allow bars to open with outdoor seating.
Under Cantrell’s Phase 3.2, bars can serve drinks outdoors with 25 percent capacity or 50 people, whichever is smaller.
The announcement for moving into the next stage of Phase 3 came at a legislative hearing at which Cantrell was asking for tens of millions of dollars to help alleviate deficits brought on by coronavirus.
The reopening phase will clear the way for expanded seating at several events. Churches will be able to hold 500 people or be at 50 percent capacity, which ever it less. High school football games beginning Friday will be able to have as many as 500 fans in attendance or be at 25 percent capacity, which ever is less.
Places like barber shops, salons, libraries and museums will be allowed to expand their capacity to 75 percent.
While bars will be able to open outdoor seating, some bar owners say it won’t be feasible.
“I’m not really sure we have the space. If we did, we would be blocking the other door or if we went his way, if Coops open up. So, then we wouldn’t have the space over there either. But, we have these two little table type things out there so people do stand and enjoy their drink and everything so I think it’ll be fine,” says Brandi Tilander at Molly’s at the Market.
“We’re really excited for a brother and sister bars who don’t have food permits. It helps them out a lot,” says Morgan Scalco with Bayou Beer and Wine Garden.
For a while, the city has been giving restaurants grants to allow them to expand outdoor seating. Now, they are providing the same relief for bar owners.
The city is working with the New Orleans Business Alliance.
Restaurants and bars must already have a sidewalk cafe permit or possess and off-street parking lot.
“These industries have been decimated so this is an opportunity to try and provide some sort of lifeline. Is it sufficient? Is it complete? It’s a first step because what we all realize is if we don’t defeat the virus, we’ll never get out of it,” says Quentin Messer Jr., President of the New Orleans Business Alliance.
The city anticipates providing the grants to about 50 businesses.
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