New Orleans breweries optimistic about city easing up on COVID-19 restrictions for bars

Now bars and breweries can open indoors to 25-percent capacity

New Orleans breweries optimistic about city easing up on COVID-19 restrictions for bars

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Now that Mardi Gras is over and the parish positivity rate is below 5 percent, New Orleans bars and breweries are allowed to open up inside to 25 percent capacity.

“The ball has been moved so many times that you’re really apprehensive about getting too excited or committing too many resources to a particular path of action, because you never know when you might have to back off or completely shut down operations because the numbers have changed,” Owner of Second Line Brewing, Mark Logan said.

It’s a mixture between relief and cautious optimism for Logan. He’s happy to be able to let people come inside again when it either gets to cold, rainy or windy. Switching to all outdoors definitely shifted business.

“It was a pivot, you know, we had to change,” Logan said. “We noticed a loss of sales to the distributors keg beer wasn’t moving like it was at one time. Everybody moved to cans. We saw an increase in people picking up cans here, but you know it was a little more of a subdued crowd people are naturally apprehensive about gathering.”

As both a manufacturer and establishment, Logan is happy other bars will be able to open inside, hoping draft beer sales will go up.

But for other local breweries, distribution isn’t a big focus.

“A lot of those breweries survive on taproom sales, because there’s not a lot of money in distribution even for the big guys, and so for the survival of breweries really, the taproom sales are really important,” Owner and Head Brewer at Parleaux Beer Lab said.

Jensen says even though they don’t feel they can open their inside space safely yet, 25-percent capacity in a taproom is a huge deal for a lot of local spots who had to shift their business.

“We relied on distribution, we had to put all of our products in almost cans because keg sales went away, but what that meant around the country, is there was a can shortage, so just getting your hands on cans to package your beer is become hard. It’s still is hard,” Jensen said.

For now, Jensen and Logan will toast to a step towards normalcy and hope the public will do their part to keep positivity rates down.

“It feels like we’re living in purgatory right now and it’ll be nice when we can kind of crawl out of that,” Jensen said.

The City said this will last for a minimum of three weeks until it is time to reevaluate where we are with the positivity rate.

Bars and breweries still have to stop serving at 11.

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