On March 2, 2021, the capacity for bars, restaurants and indoor gatherings increases tremendously with Governor John Bel Edwards’s initiation of Phase 3. With the decrease in the amount of covid cases, Governor Edwards puts this order in place, and it will last until March 31.
Phase 3 allows restaurants to open up their establishments to 75% capacity. Indoor gatherings can open up to 50% of their capacity, allowing a maximum of 250 people to be in attendance. And while operating at 25% capacity, bars can have a maximum of 250 as well.
Businesses are not the only beneficiaries of this order, as this is also an opportunity for more residents to have a chance to embellish their nights.
Charles Clark, a resident of Abita Springs, said, ”This [Phase 3] will establish community morale and capital gain throughout the public. Businesses are benefiting from an economic standpoint. The public will have more opportunities to get out the house.”
Within the Phase 3 proclamation, bars can open at 50% capacity if they have a positivity rate at five percent or lower for two consecutive weeks. The operating hours remain the same for all bars within the state, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Other rules still apply, such as customers having to be seated to be served alcohol due to walk-up purchasing not being allowed.
Ricky Woodson, a student at Southeastern University, said,“I do expect business to go up because people miss the partying. Bars will start being able to get their money back up and people can still enjoy life while in the midst of a pandemic.”
Restaurants can use 75% of their capacity as long as it honors the six feet social distancing requirement between customers. Buffets are to remain closed unless a server is available to serve those dining in.
Indoor gatherings can have up to 250 people, or the 50% capacity of the total occupancy, within the building. The lobbies and waiting areas inside of buildings should still restrict public congregations. Those attending are required to either wait outside or in their vehicles until they are allowed to come inside.
Despite the restrictions that are still prevalent, Louisiana’s residents are expecting businesses to flourish.
The new capacity allows more people in. Residents and consumers project that the places of business will increase in service and sales. They expect establishments, such as The Brown Door and Fifths in Hammond and the Rock and Blues Cafe in Covington, to have more clientele than they might anticipate.
Malik Laurent said, “Yea, I’m sure it will increase. People have to be tired of having nothing to do especially during a time like this.”
Phase 3 should help rebuild the economy that has been struggling due to the untimely and unexpected limitations place on their establishments cause by the coronavirus. It also loosens the strictness of the home order for residents that seek entertainment outside their four walls.
Social distancing protocols and mask requirements are still in place and full effect.