NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Bar owners have shut down across New Orleans on this the final weekend of carnival.
The city ordered them to remain closed for the next five days as police step up enforcement to keep crowds down.
Welcome signs have been replaced by padlocks outside bars across the city but on Bourbon Street a few signs of life.
Restaurants are still open but getting there might be tricky as police step up patrols in their effort to keep carnival crowds from gathering, and keep Covid numbers down.
“After the crowds we saw last weekend on Bourbon I believe it was important that we had a more targeted and intentional approach,” said New Orleans Police Supt. Shaun Ferguson.
Bourbon St., Frenchmen Street, and Decatur Street will be closed from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. between now and Ash Wednesday. And Bourbon St., will be closed all day on fat Tuesday much to the disappointment of a first time visitor.
“I’m not going to say it’s a horrible idea but it is a letdown,” said Jeremiah Cofield, a visitor from Alabama.
Two bars, ‘Studio 504’ and ‘Bandstand’ on Bourbon St. were closed Thursday night for being too crowded and now all have been shut down for the remainder of carnival.
“As of today all bars are close city wide including those that have a temporary license from the state to operate as a restaurant,” said Ferguson.
The New Orleans Police Department will have dozens of police officers on Bourbon St. and keep cars away but they say they do have a plan to ship those officers elsewhere and force crowds to go somewhere else.
“With the additional resources we have we will be able to flex not just through the French Quarter but throughout the entire city wherever there may be a large gathering,” said Ferguson.
Though the bars are shut down, restaurants are open as this crew headed to ‘Broussards’.
“What are you gonna do? We’re gonna make the best of what we got,” said Priscilla Headrick of New Orleans.
Hotels are only about 30 percent full, and for establishments looking forward to a carnival cash boost, the pandemic pain continues.
“This is an inconvenience but a four or five day sacrifice is nothing compared to what we would have to endure later with this global pandemic,” said Ferguson.
If you want to dine at a restaurant on Bourbon St., Frenchman St. or Decatur St., police say you will need to check with officers manning barricades to gain entry.
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