The Louisiana Governor has issued a proclamation that permits Louisiana to move to Phase 2, effective June 5, 2020. Restaurants and bars with food permits issued by the Louisiana Department of Health may open at 50% of its State Fire Marshal maximum capacity (including employees in the capacity count), an increase over 25% permitted in Phase 1. Restaurants may select any of three options for seating arrangements, which seating arrangements are identified as “active monitoring”, “partitioning tables”, and “strict social distancing”.  “Active monitoring” allows for a restaurant to provide for 6′ of distance between persons or tables at all times, but requires additional measures including non-contact temperature checks of customers and the posting of signage notifying patrons that they may not enter if they have COVID-19 symptoms. “Partitioning tables” requires the installation of 6′ high partitions between ALL tables or seating arrangements. The “strict social distancing” guideline is similar to the Phase 1 requirements: a minimum of 6′ of distance must be maintained between customers and adjoining tables where customers are seated on all sides require 10′ of space between tables. Booths may be used with partitions that exceed the height of an average person’s head when seated.  Customer waiting areas or other areas where customers tend to congregate must remain closed.

Bars without food service permits may open at 25% capacity with similar restrictions as restaurants.  According to the State Fire Marshal, bars may allow some standing-room, but most patrons should be seated and customers should not be “mingling” or standing around in non-household groups, but the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control has advised that all customers are required to remain seated at tables and no congregate in open areas. Non-contact bar games, such as pool, darts, or corn holing, are permitted so long as social distancing is observed.

Businesses with liquor licenses may continue to offer inside and outside table service of food and alcoholic beverages. (Check with your local government to find out if a sidewalk permit is needed.) Additionally, businesses with liquor licenses may continue to offer curbside or to-go services of food and sealed containers of beer and wine, and frozen specialty drinks.  The sale of mixed cocktails to go is prohibited.  Alcohol delivery may continue if the business has received a delivery permit issued by the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.

As a reminder, for all restaurants and bars, any employees that interact with customers must wear a covering over their nose and mouth.

Self-service buffets and service stations are still prohibited under Phase 2.  Additionally, kitchen and employee area workspaces must continue to keep a 6′ distance between employees.  Indoor live entertainment (except DJs) is still prohibited. Outdoor entertainment must allow for 6′ minimum distancing between customers and a 2′ aisle between the band and the customers. There is no dancing permitted indoors or outdoors.

The New Orleans Mayor has indicated that to the extent that the restrictions in her proclamations are more restrictive than Governor Edwards’ proclamation, New Orleans businesses and residents must abide by the Mayor’s proclamations.  The Mayor has not indicated when the current Phase 1 restrictions will expire or indicated what could be required in Phase 2.