Mayor Cantrell Closes New Orleans Bars, Limits Gathering Size to 10

During a press conference on Friday, Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced new Phase 2 restrictions in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations locally and across the state. Beginning at 6 am on Saturday, June 25, all bars in New Orleans will once again be closed, and restaurants will no longer be allowed to sell takeaway alcohol. In addition, gathering sizes throughout the city will once again be limited to 10 people or less, as it was in Phase 1.

Cantrell stated that the new restrictions “will continue until we move into a position of better health in the city of New Orleans.”

According to New Orleans Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno, daily cases have been increasing in “a pretty alarming trend” since the city entered Phase 2. Hospitalizations are on the rise statewide, including in Region 1. “While our hospitals are holding on strong, any increasing cases could overwhelm them,” Avegno said. She pointed to Baton Rouge’s Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center which recently suspended non-emergency procedures due to an influx of patients.

Avegno also addressed challenges that the city has had in obtaining testing supplies, which have resulted in limited testing availability and long test delays. The federal government has no agreed to send surge testing in the next few days. The surge sites will offer a combination of drive-through and walk-up testing that will rotate through locations across the city.

“Looking at our trends in new cases, which continue in many respects to be linked to social gatherings and bars, we don’t believe we can get to the levels we need to be at with the guidelines we’ve had for the last few weeks,” Avegno said, emphasizing that restricting activities related to new cases is “just common sense.”

“Just because you can go out to brunch or dinner or to somebody’s house, doesn’t mean you should,” Avegno said. Although New Orleans has been doing better than surrounding parishes, the city has begun receiving overflow patients from across the state and even Mississippi because so many of the hospitals in those areas are completely full.

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