As New Orleans loosens restrictions, Bourbon Street rebounds with large crowds

New Orleans is relaxing more coronavirus precautions this weekend.

On Saturday, the city launched Phase 3.2. Under the relaxed guidelines, more businesses can serve more people.

Live entertainment is allowed indoors with a special events permit. Bars and breweries can host up to 50 people outside or 25% of its capacity. Restaurants can serve 25-percent of its capacity indoors and 100% of its capacity outdoors, with a cap of 50.

Houses of worship, movies and conferences can host 50% of its capacity or up to 500 people.

Outdoor stadiums are also limited to 500 people or 25% capacity. Concert halls can open at 50% capacity or up to 250 people.

No singing or wind-blown instruments are allowed. Social distancing guidelines and the mask mandate are still in effect.

The loosening of restrictions is meant to keep coronavirus in check while business grows. But large crowds not following the guidelines on Bourbon Street Saturday night drew attention from city government.

“The city has been made aware of the crowds gathering in the French Quarter,” a city hall spokesperson wrote in a statement to WDSU. “There have been 9 large gathering calls made to 311 today. NOPD and the enforcement task force are monitoring the crowds and addressing issues of large crowds congregating within the French Quarter. They will be enforcing the 11:00 pm takeout alcohol and alcohol sales shut down rule in the French Quarter and throughout the city.

“As we moved into Phase 3.2 today, our businesses and our people have been complying for the most part. However, as we continue to get reports of bad actors, our enforcement task force will investigate. Businesses who are found to be not comply with the Phase 3.2 guidelines will be met with enforcement action. Our people have put in the work which has allowed us to ease restrictions, but actions that lead to super spreader events will not be condoned. We cannot go back. The City will continue to monitor these situations closely.”

Where the city sees potential problems, New Orleans resident Robby Brennan sees progress. He said the scene on Bourbon Street is one he’s been waiting for.

“I’m excited as all get down,” Brennan said. “I can’t believe it’s happening. It’s really nice to see the people coming back and enjoying themselves, and I can’t wait until all the bars are open and all the clubs so everybody can dance again. Legalize dancing.”

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