ATC: No pool, shuffleboard, darts in bars
Ernest Legier, the commissioner of the state’s Alcohol, Tobacco Control, has issued a memo reviewing rules for Louisiana bars and restaurants, making slight changes to some and adding others.
The latest rules affecting the operations of bars and restaurants across Louisiana include a new mandate banning — at least temporarily — indoor games “including but not limited to pool, darts, shuffleboard and cornhole.”
The correspondence came jointly from Legier and Gov. John Bel Edwards.
State Fire Marshal Butch Browning, whose office is charged with enforcing the mandates, explained, “It started with the CDC guidelines — the federal level — that said that, in open bars, people need to be seated. That’s where the bar games where people congregate ... were not put in the (governor’s) proclamation.”
Under Phase 3 of the COVID reopening rules. Edwards initially ordered bars and restaurants to stop on-site sales of alcohol at 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m. He later loosened that restriction to allow sales to continue until 11 p.m.
Bars are still required to close at 11 p.m.
“Limiting hours for alcohol consumption is designed to reduce the amount of higher-risk behavior in the community,” Edwards explained.
Breweries are permitted to open during Phase 3 but are subject to the same provisions that apply to bars.
Also, daiquiri shops holding a Class AG permit are subject to the same provisions as bars and must cease all sales and service of alcoholic beverages, including service of alcohol through drive-thru or curbside, at 11 p.m.
Highlights of the most recent OpenSafely guidelines for “bars and restaurants and conditional restaurant establishments” include:
• customers must be seated for table service and stay seated;
• bar capacities are 25 percent with a maximum of 50 people inside and a maximum of 50 people outside;
• bars must end alcohol sales and close to customers by 11 p.m.;
• restaurant capacities are 75 percent with alcohol sales ending at 11 p.m.;
• in restaurants, all alcohol sales must be accompanied by food sales;
• masking is required for all when not consuming food or beverage;
• live music is allowed outside only; and
• bar games, including but not limited to pool, darts, shuffleboard and cornhole, are prohibited.
Legier urges permit holders to know and follow the guidelines.
“Please know that in order for Louisiana to continue moving forward through this COVID-19 pandemic, it requires continued compliance with these rules,” Legier wrote in the Sept. 30 memo.
“To ensure best efforts at achieving compliance are being made, you should expect to experience strict enforcement efforts including permit revocation for even one confirmed violation.”
Guidance documents are available for download on the front page of OpenSafely.la.gov and are updated with every new order by the governor.