By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – Governor John Bel Edwards moved Louisiana into Phase 3 last week, but not everyone is happy about that, and with good reason.
In some ways, Phase 3 is stricter than Phase 2. For example, in Phase 2, bars are closed to on-site consumption, unless they are also serving food. Restaurants were able to open and serve alcohol at 50% capacity.
Under Phase 3, the capacity for restaurants moves up to 75%, however now all alcohol must be served only at tables; so, if you’re a restaurant with a bar area where people eat at the bar, nope. You have to sit at a table.
And under Phase 3, bars can now open to 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is smaller, but no alcohol can be sold in either bars or restaurants after 10 p.m., and all establishments must be clear of patrons by 11 p.m.
Live music and dancing are forbidden.
Now, local mayors can go back to a previous phase if it is stricter than the one currently in place, so perhaps local mayors should consider going back to Phase 2 where bars and restaurants could serve alcohol after ten.
High Schools are going ahead with football games beginning in a couple of weeks with “social distancing encouraged” in the stands. In New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell is keeping her city in Phase 2, and has disallowed all alcohol consumption in bars. There will also be no prep football in New Orleans in Phase 2.
New Orleans is keeping the status quo of Phase 2 which means “bars will continue to be shuttered throughout the city and that restaurants, stores, gyms and other businesses are limited to 50% of their pre-coronavirus capacity.”
The rules in NOLA have been tougher than the rest of the state because their numbers were so high compared to other places.
At any rate, here in Shreveport anyway, bar owners are frustrated by the continued restraints on their business, and now those seem even tougher.
In Bossier Parish, where I teach, we are going back to 100% face to face instruction next week. No more A/B hybrid days. This has me concerned because this means my small classroom will again be filled to capacity with students. There are pros and cons to this: from an educational standpoint, of course it’s better because face it, the virtual model is not working well for many kids. But from a health standpoint, I’m nervous again.
There will be literally nothing I can do in my classroom as far as social distancing goes. We won’t be able to spread even three feet apart.
I don’t have the answers, but I don’t think anyone does. It’s like at this point, with restrictions easing on one end and tightening up on another, we are nowhere close to being on the same page with this virus. All I can do will be the best I can, and try to protect myself.
Life has never felt more dystopian.
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.