NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Governor John Bel Edwards ordered bars and movie theaters to close and limited restaurants to delivery and take out only.
Gatherings of 50 or more people will be banned and everyone is urged to practice “social distancing”, essentially keeping yourself away from others as much as possible.
The guidelines and restrictions cut to the core of the food, music and entertainment culture that drives New Orleans.
Bourbon Street employees rushed to herd surprised patrons out the door.
In what NOPD representatives are calling a mixup, New Orleans police began making their way down Bourbon St. ordering businesses to shutter their doors just after 6 p.m. But the deadline for the closure of all restaurants and bars is midnight. Many of them re-opened, but it won’t stay that way for long.
“We’re trying to keep a calm mind about it, trying not to freak out about it because the more you freak out, the worse it gets.”
More than 45,000 hospitality workers will be directly impacted by Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s latest mandate in response to COVID-19.
The executive order they mayor signed Friday shuts down all non-essential businesses and requires restaurants only open for take-out.
City leaders say it is a necessary step but acknowledges its profound impending impact. Cantrell stressed the city is looking into available resources for those affected.
NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson emphasized law and order in the city will be maintained. Officers will enforce rules against gatherings and significant penalties would be in store for those businesses that defy the mayor’s order.
It’s one of the reasons workers on Bourbon St. were in such a rush. Though neither they or the many visitors understood why such drastic measures must be taken.
“There’s been serious, more serious things going on in the world and I just feel like it’s not that bad here in New Orleans to us.”
The new mandate stays in effect for at least the next month.
Cantrell encourages those who’ll be out of work to apply for unemployment and says a fund has already been established for gig workers.
The state’s 20 casinos have also been ordered to shut down for at least 14 days.