Tracey’s in N.O. Ordered Closed; Jefferson Bars Reopen
NEW ORLEANS – According to several reports, Tracey’s Original Irish Channel Bar earned unwanted attention from the City of New Orleans Department of Safety and Permits after the bar posted video on social media showing Saints fans in the bar not wearing masks during Monday’s Saints-Raiders game.
The city ordered Tracey’s to close until it gets approval for a new operating plan.
“The dangers of COVID-19 are real and the manner in which the establishment is operating threatens to increase the spread of this dangerous disease,” said city Director of Safety and Permits Tammie Jackson in a letter to the bar’s owners. “This plan must contain a viable solution to handle overcrowding, both inside and outside of the establishment by customers, occupants or affiliates of the establishment, and address all aspects of the City’s Health Department Phase 2 Guidelines.”
Based on comments posted on Facebook, Tracey’s supporters did not think the scene in the video warranted the city’s actions.
The Jefferson Parish Council, meanwhile, voted Monday to allow Jefferson Parish bars to reopen for on-premises alcohol sales. The council cited data showing the parish has met the reopening criteria: a two-week COVID-19 test positivity rate of less than 5%.
Under statewide phase 3 restrictions, bars without food permits have been limited to delivery and drive-thru service but those with positive rates of 5% or lower are allowed to reopen indoor service if parishes approve.
Bars were allowed to reopen beginning Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 25% capacity, or up to 50 patrons indoors seated for table-side service (whichever is less). No more than 50 patrons are allowed outside.
To avoid crowds around a bar, drinks must be ordered at a table and delivered by bar staff to the table. No live music is allowed and patrons must be socially distanced. Patrons must leave the bar by 11 p.m., when alcohol sales and service are also cut off.
Current rules are in effect until Oct. 9. If the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rises, the rules could become more restrictive again.
Bars without food permits are still essentially shut down in New Orleans, which is still following phase 2 rules, because the city is not allowing to-go service.