Neighboring bar owners, residents pleased with city’s crackdown on bar covid violations
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - With beer cans and red solo cups still littering the outside of TJ Quills, a new notice is also now pinned on the front door: “Ordered to close”.
“It’s frustrating the small percentage of our student body is putting so many people at risk,” said Tulane master’s student, Isabell Anderson.
The popular Tulane hang-out was one of four bars the city shut down. The Cadi Corner on Cherry Street, The District on Tchoupitoulas, and the Red Eye on South Peters Street, most with similar notices posted as well.
The shutdowns come a day after the city issued a stern warning not to violate the city’s modified Phase 2 guidelines in light of sterner Mardi Gras restrictions.
“We see your attempts to hide the fact that you are open and operating after 11 p.m., we see your social media accounts luring college students into your death traps. Your selfishness continues to threaten the delicate eco system that is our hospitality industry. You are directly responsible for the deaths of New Orleanians,” said the city’s deputy CAO, Peter Bowen.
The city posted pictures of crowds at the Red Eye before closure, with groups of unmasked bar-goers, standing shoulder to shoulder with the door propped open for entry. Students say risky crowds were also an issue at TJ Quills.
“Yea, I don’t think we would feel safe going to post-Covid. It’s a very small area,” said Tulane student, Pooja Taleti.
“I’ve definitely seen some crowds of people. I mean, I don’t know why. There’s definitely sneaking around,” said Anderson.
Some living nearby describe nights where students were pouring out into the street, even walking into these back doors without masks on.
“I don’t know if they were calling themselves a speakeasy or not, I’m not too sure on how they were operating, amongst the rumor mill it was I guess kind of known that maybe they weren’t following all the guidelines,” said Tim Spratt, owner of Bruno’s.
Bruno’s is right next door to TJ Quills. Spratt says they weren’t privy to how their neighbors ran their business, but says he’s glad to see the city start to crack down on those bad actors, so they don’t ruin it for other law-abiding businesses.
“I think amongst the community the places that are problem spots or known violators have been violators for quite some time… I think all we can really ask for as business owners in general that we have consistent enforcement across-the-board so there’s a level of expectation as to what the rules of the rule road are,” said Spratt.
The city says they did not impose any fines last night, but the bars will stay shut down until the city approves a written request and plan demonstrating compliance with the guidelines.
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