Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced that the City of New Orleans will continue its phased reopening plan by moving into Phase 3.2 at 6 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, which will further ease restrictions on audience size, bars and breweries, and live entertainment.
"We are encouraged by our residents' response to our guidelines in continuing the gradual reopening of the City, the low numbers of case rates and hospitalizations, and the strengthening of our local economy as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to move from Phase 3.2 to Phase 3.3 in the same time frame, but to do that we have to adhere to the mandatory wearing of face coverings and practicing the social distancing needed now more than ever with the easement of these restrictions. New Orleans is coming back strong, and we can't go back or go back and forth," said Mayor Cantrell.
"Today, we continue to meet all of our public health milestones, including case numbers, positivity rates, testing, and hospital capacity, since we initiated Phase 3 two weeks ago,” said New Orleans Health Department Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno. "That indicates slow COVID-19 disease growth in Orleans Parish and allows us to continue to ease restrictions for activities that are have been shown locally to have relatively low risk of outbreak or community spread, activities that are outdoors, and timed and seated events. We've also given special consideration to bringing back jobs for residents with the least impact on public health, and to ensuring that policies do not worsen inequities."
All activities during the stages of Phase 3 must still include the crucial tenets of disease control, including the following:
For more information, visit ready.nola.gov/reopening. You can also read the guidelines here.
Councilmember Palmer to Introduce a resolution Authorizing NOLA Bars to Reopen with Guidelines from the City's Health Department
Resolution (R-20-356) by District C Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer notifies Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards that New Orleans is opting into on-site alcohol and food consumption at local bars. The resolution formally authorizes the reopening of bars under the New Orleans Health Department Phase 3 guidelines and Governor Edwards's September 11 proclamation.
In the Louisiana Department of Health's most recent data, New Orleans bars are located in a parish with less than 5% of positive COVID-19 cases for two consecutive weeks. This also satisfies a requirement in the Governor's Phase 3 reopening guidelines.
The resolution will not allow bars to reopen and operate with on-site consumption until Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the New Orleans Health Department establish proper rules and guidelines along with plans for enforcing and penalties for bad actors. Additional restrictions are provided in the Governor's September 11 proclamation, including that bars will be closed for on-site consumption should the parish exceed 10% COVID-19 positivity rates for two consecutive weeks.
"Based on the latest data from the State's Department of Health and the Governor, our city has met the milestones to reopen with on-site alcohol sales safely, but this does not mean the pandemic is over. The Council expects all bars, restaurants, and establishments and their patrons to follow safety measures and guidelines to reduce the virus's spread. I have spoken with numerous bar owners across my district who have been planning for months to have appropriate measures in place to operate safely. They have suffered economically more than most and yet have made it clear that they understand their responsibility to the community's public health. Any establishment that doesn't respect the rules should not be allowed to operate. They should not be allowed to undo the work that so many others across this city have done." said Councilmember Palmer.
To view the full meeting agenda, click here.
Thursday, October 15, 2020, at 10 AM
The meeting may be accessed using the following methods:
Feeling like 2020 cannot end soon enough? Shut-downs, phases, and the long list of new rules for businesses to follow have taken a toll. The reality of long-term closures, even with the current modifications, has gripped the industry with a relentless hold. According to a new survey by the National Restaurant Association, nearly 1 in 6 restaurants (representing nearly 100,000 restaurants) is closed either permanently or long-term; nearly 3 million employees are still out of work; and the industry is on track to lose $240 billion in sales by the end of the year. (restaurant.org) With the restaurant industry at the forefront of the pandemic’s economic demise, recovery is expected to take years, possibly decades. What does the industry look like post COVID? As the days have turned into weeks and the weeks have turned into months, many have questioned the future of the businesses they have worked and sacrificed their lives for. Years of nights, weekends and holidays invested in an industry built on community support gone almost overnight.
Is there a silver lining in the gravity of complete and utter devastation caused by a world crisis? Embracing change and pivoting to new business models proved to be a theme for 2020. Many chose to dig in and grind at a pace more labor intensive than ever before. Innovation and new ideas surfaced and moved a nation to create, rebuild and lend a hand to help others in need. Families spent more time together and found themselves in the kitchen working on meals while forced to dine at home. Usual routines filled with work, ball games and outings were all but scrapped. The country was forced to find ways to entertain rambunctious children, feed hungry housemates and survive without the usual access to provisions.
So, when asked if there is a silver lining for me as I shifted from fully booked months of catering and a staffed kitchen to government halted events and skeleton crews for daily operations, my answer was, remarkably, yes. My silver lining through all this was embracing and putting to use the many teachings from my late grandparents. The story of losing and yet getting back in the game is very evident in the stories they passed on to me. Both my grandparents were hard-working entrepreneurs. They both survived the Great Depression and raised 4 children while my grandfather was enlisted in World War II. My grandfather’s own mother died of the Spanish Flu when he was only 4. They were no stranger to being dealt a bad hand and moving on with life regardless. From summers spent with them growing and harvesting a vegetable garden, making toys and games from natural materials, and appreciating the quiet with daydreaming or napping, I learned simple life lessons which came in handy during the pandemic.
The summer of 2020 was a circus of sorts. I compare it to walking the tight rope with no net while juggling my family, my business and my sanity. There were also many positives from this unprecedented time. Engaging the family in the kitchen at work and home seemed to keep them occupied with tasks that doubled as learning. We also planted a wild-flower garden which ended up being harvested as beautiful flowers added to a few plates for dinner parties and photo shoots. Most of all, we sat together at the dinner table, turned off the television, put the cell phones on silent, and talked to each other. The reward was the seemingly endless hours of conversation spent over empty plates and full bellies. I learned so much about my “tribe” and what makes us all tick – and what areas we need to work on as a family to enhance our daily living. We are all still living in this crazy world, just in a different way.
As for the industry I chose as a career and have given 25 years of my life to, I am optimistic our industry will rally and return stronger than before. What drives me to return each day is my love for community and service to each customer who supports my business. I deeply appreciate the interactions with industry peers, customers, vendors, and the long list of each business associated with the restaurant industry. It is a family of friends and competitors. It is my family aside from my family at home and I want us all to prosper.
God bless us all and cheers to a new year with a fresh start!
The Gilded Artichoke
GBR Chapter President 2020
Louisiana will stay in Phase 3, keeping its strong COVID-19 mitigation measures, including a continued statewide mask mandate, in place for another 28 days, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced.
The Governor moved Louisiana to Phase 3 in September, following declines in new cases and hospitalizations. Case numbers have spiked already twice in Louisiana – once in April and again in July.
“Today, I’m announcing that Louisiana will stay in Phase 3 until at least November 6, as we continue to implement the mitigation measures developed for the state by the White House Coronavirus Task Force and supported by health experts that are having a positive impact on our battle against this public health emergency,” Gov. Edwards said. “All of the data shows improvement in Louisiana’s COVID situation because of the strong mitigation measures we have in place and because of the hard work of the people of Louisiana. These measures, which are supported by science, are allowing us to keep our case count and hospitalizations down, even as most of Louisiana’s businesses have expanded their operations and more people are moving about.
“We know that as schools return to in person learning, restaurants and bars open even more widely and more events begin, there is more risk to spreading COVID. I also remain incredibly concerned about how Hurricane Delta will impact our ability to operate community testing and also displace people in ways that may lead to spread.”
On Monday, Gov. Edwards announced that alcohol could be sold at sporting events in parishes that qualified and had opted in to re-open bars for on-site alcohol consumption, which is the only major change in the Governor’s Phase 3 order.
In addition, the Louisiana State Fire Marshal will issue guidance for fairs and festivals, which will allow event producers to submit a plan for approval. No outdoor fair or festival shall have more than 500 people.
CDC Updated Guidelines
CDC continues to believe that people are more likely to become infected the longer and closer they are to a person with COVID-19. The update acknowledges the existence of some published reports showing limited, uncommon circumstances where people with COVID-19 infected others who were more than 6 feet away or shortly after the positive person left an area. In these instances, transmission occurred in poorly ventilated/enclosed spaces that often involved activities that caused heavier breathing like singing or exercise.
After a technical review of the guidance, CDC’s recommendations remain the same based on existing science. People can protect themselves from the virus by staying at least 6 feet away from others, wearing a mask that covers their nose and mouth, washing their hands frequently, cleaning touched surfaces often, and staying home when sick.
While there has been some discussion around CDC’s release yesterday, the Association has been resolute in our approach, specifically that COVID – 19 spreads primarily person to person. The last paragraph in yesterday’s release (which the media has ignored to some degree) is clear on this issue and the information our team has received from CDC affirms that we continue to deliver solid guidance to our members.
Recently, the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (“ATC) received numerous inquiries as to whether breweries can be granted additional retail opportunities or granted a conditional restaurant permit. Upon review, the agency determined that granting either request would violate the three tier system under Louisiana law.
Louisiana’s alcohol industry operates under a three tier system. This system is designed to stabilize the industry and prevent unlawful and unfair inducements or business practices (monopolies). It is also intended to promote and maintain a fair and level playing field. The structure of the three tier system is broken down into retail dealers, wholesalers, and manufacturers (breweries). According to Louisiana law, a brewery’s primary function is to manufacture its alcoholic beverages. The manufacturer may then sell the product to a wholesaler which distributes and sells to retail dealers. Each tier is responsible for a specific chain in the alcohol distribution process. Accordingly, La. R.S. 26:85 states in part that no person or business may at the same time, engage in business as an alcohol retailer, wholesaler and/or manufacturer or any combination thereof.
Nevertheless, Louisiana law provides a limited exception to breweries to allow operation of a taproom and to offer for sale its products direct to consumers for personal consumption onsite. Thus, the taproom operates is a way similar to a bar as its primary commodity and function is to sell alcoholic beverages on tap to patrons for consumption in a retail setting. It should be noted that the sales of the brewery’s products in the taproom are classified as retail sales although the taproom is NOT separately permitted as a bar or restaurant.
Considering the above, a brewery does not meet the requirements to be eligible for a conditional restaurant permit. La. R.S. 26:271.21 explicitly requires that an applicant for a restaurant conditional permit must first hold a Class A-General (AG) retail permit (A brewery holds a manufacturer permit). A conditional restaurant permit is a retail permit and thus granting such a permit to a manufacturer or brewery would be in direct violation of the three tier system, tied house rules as well as La. R.S. 26:85.
For the above reasons, it is the agency’s position that granting additional retail opportunities or granting a conditional restaurant retail permit to a brewery is impermissible under the law. Additionally, the proposed actions would violate the three tier system and pose a competitive risk to the other tiers within the alcohol industry.
Yesterday, Mayor Cantrell held a press conference announcing the City's movement into its version of Phase 3--Phase 3.1, as defined by the City. The Mayor also announced a tentative Time Line for moving into Phase 3.2 ("as early as 10/16") and Phase 3.3 ("as early as 10/31"). See the attached NOLA Phase 3.1 Time Line Chart. Following is a summary of the NOLA Phase 3.1 Guidelines, the current state Phase 3 Guidelines and reports related to legislation pending in the Louisiana Legislature. The Legislature convened for a Special Session on Monday, September 28, 2020, and is considering, among other things, COVID-related legislation that affects restaurants and bars.
You can watch the Mayor's Press Conference here:
https://www.facebook.com/mayorcantrell/videos/3344422448980071?utm_campaign=City_of_New_Orleans&utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Facebook Watch
The City of New Orleans today announced that it will be moving into a gradual version of Phase 3 in its continued efforts to reopen the city in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. Along with the easing of some restrictions, the City also will ramp up enforcement to mitigate potential spread as well as provide more options for businesses to survive and thrive to fuel our economic recovery.
“We have flattened the curve and slowed the spread of this virus significantly — TWICE. Public schools have reopened for in-person learning for students in the Pre-K through fourth grades, and we’re meeting our milestones when it comes to case numbers, fatalities, the positivity rate, and our testing numbers. Because we’re meeting these milestones, we’re ready to move to Phase 3,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “Just like we did with Phases 1 and 2, our Phase 3 will differ from the State’s. There will be three parts to Phase 3, all depending on the data we see as we progress. We saw this summer what happens when we go too big too quickly. We don’t want to go back, and we don’t want to go back and forth.”
[WATCH: Phase 3 press conference]
“We’ve learned from the Phase One and Two rollouts that it is best to take a measured approach. Phase 3 will consist of three stages, easing some restrictions first, monitoring data for a period, and then further easing restrictions. The goal is to move through these stages within two to three weeks, if the data allows,” said Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno. “However, if our data measures indicate concern, we will be able to pause and evaluate the situation.”
[LEARN MORE: Dr. Avegno's Phase 3 presentation.]
Phase 3 will proceed accordingly, set up in three separate priorities:
The City will start with Phase 3, priority 1, which includes the following guidelines:
“We have seen this in a hyper-local setting in the French Quarter entertainment district, where after restaurant alcohol sales end at 11, crowds continue drinking packaged liquor on Bourbon Street into the overnight hours. For this reason, we will limit the sales of packaged liquor in the French Quarter to between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.,” said Dr. Avegno.
The boundaries will be from the Mississippi River to Rampart Street and Esplanade Avenue to Common Street.
The City will continue to work with the State and ATC to find a way to ease restrictions on breweries to allow them to get back into their regular operations with the appropriate restrictions in accordance with Phase 3.1.
BARS AND RESTAURANTS
To maintain the balance of public health and supporting businesses throughout the response to the pandemic, the City is working to get businesses back open and ensure safety for both employees and patrons. With the acknowledgment that being outside is safer than being inside, Mayor Cantrell tasked her administration to produce innovative options for businesses and residents.
The result is a series of initiatives aimed at supporting businesses, providing safe spaces, and activating our streets. With those goals in mind, the City is announcing a few different initiatives:
First, the City, in partnership with the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), is rolling out a supplementary Sidewalk Café Outdoor Dining grant program. The existing Outdoor Dining grant program provides $2,000 grants to support investments in sidewalk café, courtyard, off-street parking, and other outdoor seating areas and has been available to restaurants. This same program will now be available to bar owners as well. Applications will begin being accepted and reviewed on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, at outdoordiningnola.com, and funds will begin being issued once bars are able to return to limited on-site outdoor seating in the coming weeks.
The City is also excited to announce the launch of a Curbside Dining and Parklet program. The program will enable businesses — beginning with restaurants—to create outdoor dining and seating in areas previously dedicated to on-street parking. This will support our business community, create safe places to socialize outside, and activate our streets in a way that only New Orleans can. The Curbside Dining and Parklet program will begin this upcoming Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, with a short pilot, during which only restaurants within the Downtown Development District (DDD) boundaries — which are Iberville Street, Claiborne Avenue, the Pontchartrain Expressway, and the Mississippi River — will be eligible to apply for the new permit. The City will be partnering with the DDD on the pilot to support the participating restaurants. The collaboration with the DDD will ensure the success of the pilot, and the DDD will be able to help provide participating businesses with resources to ensure that their outdoor dining areas are successful. The pilot will run for approximately two weeks (Oct. 5-19). Restaurants interested in applying for a Curbside Dining and Parklet permit can do so through the City’s OneStop portal and by email@example.com. Again, permit applications will begin being accepted and reviewed on Monday, Oct. 5.
Other restaurant and bar owners outside of the DDD boundaries but who are interested in the permit should go to outdoordiningnola.com to submit their information to be notified when the permit is available citywide in a few weeks.
To support these the City and NOLABA will be launching a second round of larger Outdoor Dining grants, which will launch once the Curbside Dining and Parklet permit is available citywide (on or around Oct. 19). The Curbside Dining and Parklet grants will be $6,000 grants that will support the creation of Curbside Dining and Parklet spaces at businesses throughout the City. Businesses will also apply for the grant at outdoordiningnola.com.
Finally, the City and the French Market Corporation will be collaborating on a “Safe and Social” Demonstration on one block of French Market Place. Since the beginning of the pandemic, this administration has also spearheaded efforts to more creatively utilize the public right of way for “people-centric” uses in the French Quarter. Over the past few months, the City has been working with a range of stakeholders to explore a number of initiatives, and this is one of the projects that has been the most well-received.
The “Safe and Social” Demonstration will begin in mid-October. Weekly, from 8 a.m. Thursday to 8 a.m. Monday, vehicular traffic along French Market Place between Gov. Nicholls Street and Ursulines Avenue will be limited to emergency and sanitation vehicles to allow for full use of the public right-of-way for vending, seating, walking, and engagement. The goal of this demonstration is to create new opportunities for French Market vendors, connections for local businesses, and ways for patrons to interact with one another in safe, socially distanced encounters.
“It goes without saying that our restaurants and bars are the backbones of New Orleans community and culture, and we know that they have been deeply impacted by COVID,” said Jeffrey Schwartz, Director, Office of Economic Development. “National trends suggest that half of all restaurants and bars are in danger of not surviving the pandemic. As we balance public health and supporting businesses, we know that they are two sides of the same coin: to get businesses back open and New Orleanians back to work, we also have to ensure that they are safe for both employees and patrons. We are not going to allow the city to go backwards.”