East Baton Rouge formally requests state approval to reopen bars this week
BATON ROUGE - Bars in East Baton Rouge could be allowed to re-open as early as this week if the percentage of coronavirus cases in the parish continue a downward trend.
The parish is on track for multiple weeks of a positivity rate of tests below 5%. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, EBR had a positivity rate of 4.1 percent in the week ending Sept. 16, the most recent reporting period published by state officials. That means it could meet the threshold this week.
On Monday, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced the parish had reached out to the state Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control for permission to reopen bars pending Wednesday's data from the Louisiana Department of Health.
Last week, as bars remained closed, the mayor's office released a statement preparing the parish for the possibility of bars reopening soon:
I am pleased East Baton Rouge Parish continues to move in the right direction towards slowing the spread of the coronavirus. I am optimistic we will meet the state criteria to apply for easing bar restrictions as soon as the middle of next week, which is when the Louisiana Department of Health expects to release its latest data regarding our positivity rate.
The state requires a parish to report two weeks of positivity at or below 5%, as reported on the LDH website, prior to applying to ease restrictions. The state also requires a parish to renew the restrictions if the positivity rate reaches 10% for two consecutive weeks.
Following the science has gotten us to this point, and I will continue to allow science to drive our future decision making. My decisions will be based on data from the Louisiana Department of Health, guidance from the medical community in East Baton Rouge Parish, and the recommendations of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Now is not the time to become complacent. East Baton Rouge Parish cannot afford to go backwards in our fight against COVID-19. At this point, I implore our residents to continue wearing face coverings, avoiding crowds, and limiting social gatherings to people inside our household or trusted support group so that we can get back to doing all the things we love to do in as safe a manner as possible.