EBR bars await state approval to reopen
BATON ROUGE - With cooler weather bringing chilly temperatures to the capital city, some locals are looking forward to enjoying one of their favorite hot cocktails at a local bar, and bar owners in East Baton Rouge Parish are hopeful to recieve state approval to reopen and serve eager customers, perhaps as soon as Wednesday.
After months of shuttering regular bar services due to the spread of novel coronavirus, the Governor's Office issued a notice, stating that parishes with a COVID-positive rate below five percent or less over a two-week span could request the state for approval to reopen the area's bars.
As EBR Parish appears to have met the previously mentioned criteria and Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome has already requested the state for approval to allow EBR bars to reopen.
Now, bars and officials are awaiting the okay from the state.
That said, when bars reopen service will not return to pre-pandemic conditions. Instead, the following state-required measures will be observed:
1) Bars may reopen and offer tableside service only. Standing and bar service will be prohibited.
2) Indoor capacity shall be limited to a 25% occupancy rate or fifty (50) people, whichever is less.
3) Outdoor capacity shall be limited to fifty (50) people and only for tableside service.
4) Tables shall be spaced in accordance with SFM social distancing guidelines.
5) Bars and other Class AG permit holders including daiquiri shops must cease all sale and service of alcoholic beverages and close no later than 11 P.M.
6) No person under the age of twenty-one (21) shall be allowed on to the premises.
7) Live music is prohibited.
While it's likely that bars in EBR will reopen as soon as Wednesday, the mayor cautioned that she will be monitoring COVID numbers in addition to keeping an eye on how closely bars follow the guidelines above.
"If I see anything that is getting out of control certainly we will take the necessary action steps to address it," Mayor Broome said.
Should the reopenings result in a spike in coronavirus cases, officials will take steps to, once again, close bars.
But in the meantime, bar owners hopefully await the okay to reopen and return to the work of keeping customers happy with their favorite drinks.