NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Bars shut down in New Orleans for violating COVID guidelines will need to submit plans to safely accommodate patrons before being allowed to reopen.
In a press conference Monday afternoon, Peter Bowen, Director of the Office of Business & External Services, says several bars were shut down for having too many people inside, serving drinks past 11 p.m., and not abiding by or enforcing the governor’s facemask mandate.
In one instance, Bowen says a security guard pulled a gun on one of the enforcing officers and had to be subdued.
Seven bars were shut down in total.
“When it comes to the city’s enforcement efforts, voluntary compliance is always our goal,” Bowen said. “We don’t want to shut anyone’s business down. We want to reopen our businesses safely.”
The city says safety inspectors, code officers, and police will be out all week leading up to Mardi Gras weekend, investigating 311 complaints and other noncompliant businesses.
“There were serious safety and fire violations that would have caused them to be shut down in a non-COVID environment, which is why additional measures may be taken at the state level,” Bowen says. “When I used the term death trap last week I was not exaggerating,” Bowen says.
Some of the bars shut down Friday and Saturday were safety and fire hazards on top of concerns over breaking COVID regulations.
These bars will be forced to remain closed until they submit a plan to safely reopen. The city is forwarding its reports to the state’s Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) Board, which means the bars could face even more consequences.
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