Mayor LaToya Cantrell from New Orleans today declared that all bars in the city would shut down in order to slow down the spread of coronavirus ahead of the Mardi Gras festivities.
Cantrell claimed that to-go drinks are also forbidden to cities and that the selling of packaged alcohol in the French quarter is not permitted.
In November, the city announced that it would not allow traditional festivals to take place. Mardi Gras last year led to a splash in New Orleans with coronavirus.
Last weekend, the big crowds gathered at the popular Bourbon Street prompted the new rules.
The Mayor tweeted saying, “To those who are upset about these restrictions, know that when it comes to the health of our people, I’d rather be accused of doing too much than not enough.”
The changes will be in effect from 6 a.m. on February 12 through 6 a.m. on February 17. They need to close down entirely all of the bars of the area, including those with a restaurant permit. Retail liquor sales are banned in the French Quarter and cups are forbidden to be served in restaurants.
Pedestrians shall be banned, with the police setting control points and blocks at the intersections, on Bourbon, French, Decatur and North Claiborne – all typical hotspots for the carnival. According to Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department, Shaun Ferguson, only people travelling to or from their houses, hotels, restaurants or shops are allowed to go.
A fence will be installed under Interstate 10 to further block Claiborne.
If required, the police would be advised to split crowds, issue tickets or arrest. According to authorities, companies that breach the laws are to be shut “on the spot.”
Over the course of a pandemic, city hall has done nothing to impose regulations on bars and meetings, issuing a few temporary closures to corporations who have broken rules and seldom break up revellers’ groups.