Help on the way for Orleans Parish businesses not included in relaxed COVID restrictions

NOLA small business help

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Orleans Parish restaurants and bars say they are losing out on revenue because the city is not following the state’s updated COVID restrictions.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell says she will not align the parish with Governor John Bel Edwards’ newest executive order but says help is on the way.

Mayor Cantrell insists on keeping 75% capacity limitations for the “forseeable future” even though Gov. Edwards is allowing for full capacity and expanded hours of operations. In neighboring parishes, bars and restaurants can resume 24-hour service in some cases.

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At Katie’s in mid-city, they are already booked up for Easter Sunday, about 30% less than their usual Easter crowd due to the lingering capacity restrictions.

Mayor Cantrell announced on Thursday that officials would be lifting ABO and mayoralty fees through the end of the year. The city also says it will waive fees for outdoor seating areas through June 30 in an attempt to help struggling businesses get back on their feet.

Cantrell says federal funds should be available through the Restaurant Revitalization Act and other programs.

“We are hopeful that this infusion will come back right on time, and [businesses] will come back strong,” Cantrell says.

“I think we’re close,” says Scott Craig, Katie’s Restaurant. “As soon as bar and music clubs are able to operate fully, that’s going to make a difference for tourism.”

Some neighborhood restaurants say they were being unfairly punished by the restrictive capacity limits because of misbehavior in the French Quarter.

Mayor Cantrell says she worked with the city attorney and there was no way they could pick and choose different capacities for different areas.

There are a variety of programs for restaurants and bars to sign up for federal funds when they become available. Business owners can sign up on the city’s website, NolaReady.gov.

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