New Orleans dropping all COVID-19 restrictions on bars and restaurants

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(NEW ORLEANS) — Twenty-four-hour alcohol sales return to New Orleans on Friday, when the city has scheduled lifting all COVID-19 restrictions on bars and restaurants.

In addition to eliminating the pandemic-related 1 a.m. last call for drinks, bars and restaurants no longer have to space tables 6 feet apart and patrons will be allowed to stand at the bar.

The loosened rules go into effect at 6 a.m.

New Orleans’ announcement comes days after an executive order issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards ended social distancing restrictions for bars and live music in most places in the state.

“Thanks to the wide availability of vaccines and the 1.4 million Louisianans who already have gone sleeves up and after hitting a new low in hospitalizations, the order I have signed today contains the fewest state-mandated restrictions ever,” Edwards said in a statement. Local governments and businesses still have the power to make their own rules about COVID-19 precautions, such as requiring masks, according to the governor.

“To be clear: COVID-19 is not over for our state or for our country,” Edwards said. “Anyone who has gotten the vaccine is now fully protected and can enter summer with confidence.”

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New Orleans ended its mask mandate for fully vaccinated people on May 14. As of Thursday, 41% of people in Orleans Parish were fully vaccinated, according to Louisiana’s health department.

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