The New Orleans tourism and entertainment business has been particularly hard hit by the Covid 19 pandemic. An early hot spot in the U.S, that many attribute to Mardi Grad 2019, local government officials, especially Mayor Latoya Cantrell have been reluctant to lift restrictions. The current most visible example of this is the eerily empty SuperDome for home games of the New Orleans Saints, compared to the 25,000 that is allowed in Baton Rouge’s Tiger Stadium only 90 miles northwest. While some of these restrictions seemed prudent during the height of the pandemic it seems now that most of the city and the people who love to visit it are ready for Laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll).
After much pressure from local business owners and some politicians, city officials have agreed to ease some restrictions. As of October 17, 2020 the city has moved into what is calls phase 3.2. This allows bars without a food licence to reopen with 25% capacity and to serve drinks, better known as the roadie. It also allows for indoor live entertainment, if you obtain a “Special Event Permit”. These events still prohibit wind-blown instruments and karaoke. Alcohol sales are limited to the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.
What this all means for now is that the city and the famous French Quarter are back open for business, and the early results are promising. The first weekend of the lifted restrictions saw a great increase in hotel reservations and foot traffic in the downtown and French Quarter areas. If you are looking for an affordable and fun location to drown you covid blues, then the Big Easy is back for your pleasure.