Bars in Lafayette struggle to respond to executive order, put into place by Governor John Bel Edwards due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Louisiana is a place of eating, drinking and being merry, but with the pandemonium surrounding COVID-19 much of that is changing. Edwards placed an order for all restaurants to become delivery and take out only and for all bars and casinos to be closed until April 13.
Bars are a popular service industry in the city of Lafayette, but most bartenders don’t make minimum wage and rely on tips. An anonymous bartender at New Orleans Daiquiri said, “I’m not really worried about the virus itself, but the pandemic side is what scares me. And with the stock market going down, people are even less likely to tip because they want to hold on to their cash. Tips are the bartender’s lively hood.”
After Edwards gave the 250-person limit, there was hope from workers in the industry that sales would increase. Lindsey, a bartender at Legends on Johnston who asked her last name to remain anonymous, said, “I have seen in the last few days a steady rise in attendance, and I only expect that to continue. There is not as much to do in the city now, and so I expect people to come together and share a drink or two to get out of their houses.”
A short look into the business at local bars the weekend of March 15
Lindsey said all Legends bars have been in contact with health organizations and law enforcement to make sure things are being done right. Strict cleaning policies are in effect according to Lindsey.
Regardless of extra precaution, Edwards said closure is the right decision, “These limitations were difficult to make, but they are necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, protect the health of Louisianans and flatten the curve.”
Another anonymous bartender from Daiquiri Supreme said, “I think I’m not as scared to get the virus myself, but more so being a silent carrier and potentially passing it to someone more at risk. I’m young and healthy, but what about the person who lives with their grandparents? They say you do not show symptoms for two weeks, so I could have it and be putting other people at risk without knowing.”