Following Sunday night’s announcement that the City of New Orleans was imposing limited hours and capacity for bars and restaurants amid new coronavirus guidelines, today the governor of Louisiana announced an order closing all bars and limiting restaurants to takeout, delivery, or drive-thru service only.
Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office announced a ban Monday afternoon on gatherings of more than 50 people, the closure of Louisiana casinos, bars, and movie theaters, and the new takeout-only options for restaurants, all effective at midnight tonight (March 16). The governor also said that the changes could be lifted April 13, but not before.
The shutdown of all bars and closing of restaurants for dine-in service by the state government comes as New Orleans establishments started announcing voluntary closures and other alterations to service, including adding takeout service or switching entirely to pickup.
The LeBlanc + Smith restaurant group was the first to make a major voluntary move, announcing the temporary closure of all five of its restaurants and bars: Meauxbar, Sylvain, Barrel Proof, Cavan, and Longway Tavern.
In a statement, CEO Robert LeBlanc added that “some members of the LeBlanc + Smith leadership team will continue to work on a voluntary basis to support our business” and that they have provided a list of resources to staff to help them through this “financial hardship.” He added they will be giving away all remaining food to staff, and that 75% of gift card sales will go to affected employees.
Also prior to the governor’s order Monday, sno-ball favorite Hansen’s Sno-Bliz and Mid City cafe Pagoda Cafe announced temporary closures. Other local favorites like Magazine Street deli Stein’s had just made the switch to takeout only, with restaurants like Donald Link’s Peche adding takeout service for the first time.
Molly’s Rise and Shine and 1000 Figs also implemented takeout and curbside pickup only as of today. And after police broke up Saturday’s unofficial St. Patrick’s Day gatherings outside Irish bar Tracey’s, it announced this morning it would not open on Tuesday, March 17 for St. Patrick’s Day.
The new rules for Louisiana bars and restaurants follow the cancellation or postponement of upcoming New Orleans food festivals including NOWFE, Hogs for the Cause, and Top Taco.
Do you know of a restaurant closing permanently or implementing indefinite changes due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic? Let us know.