St. Martin Parish President Chester R. Cedars
September 16, 2020
6:00 P.M.

As everyone is aware, on September 11, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards issued Executive Order 117 JBE 2020 which allows the State of Louisiana to enter what is referred to as “Phase 3″. One aspect of that proclamation which has generated significant interest addresses the “on premises consumption of alcohol at bars and lounges”. In that respect, the Order states:

“Except as provided in Paragraph (3) of this Subsection, no bar, with or without a food service permit from the Louisiana Department of Health, shall allow for on premises consumption of any food or drinks. However, any bar shall be allowed to provide for takeout through drive-thru or curbside delivery, including alcoholic beverages.”

The exception set forth in “Paragraph (3)” provides that if a Parish has a percent positivity rate of 5% or less for two consecutive weeks, then that Parish will enjoy the option of permitting the re-opening its bars and lounges under the conditions set by the Governor in his proclamation. Even then, the restrictions of the reopening are:

  • Bars can operate at the lesser of 25% of capacity or 50 patrons
  • Table service only will be allowed
  • No one under the age of 21 years may enter the bar
  • No live music is allowed
  • Service must end at 10:00 P.M. and the bar must be closed at 11:00 P.M. (interestingly, the Governor did not mention the time a bar may open)
  • A bar may offer outdoor service; however, no more than 50 patrons are allowed and all of the above restrictions will apply
  • If the positivity rate of a Parish rises to 10% or more, then any bar that has re-opened must close

Each Wednesday, the Louisiana Department of Health release the positivity rates for every Parish. Today, the positivity rate for St. Martin Parish for the last two weeks was reported as 11.4% (week of August 27th-September 2nd) and 7.30% (week of September 2nd -September 9th). Therefore, St. Martin Parish does not yet meet the threshold for opting out (allowing the re-opening of bars). For comparison purposes, the rates for our neighboring Parishes for those two weeks are as follows:

  • Lafayette 6.10% and 5.00%
  • St. Landry 3.30% and 3.80%
  • Iberia 6.20% and 5.50%
  • St. Mary 9.50% and 4.30%

The next data will be released on Wednesday, September 23, 2020.

I reported last week that:

“As Parish President, I am in favor of allowing all bars to re-open upon the Parish meeting the 5% threshold for two consecutive weeks. I see no cogent reason to impede any commercial activity beyond the boundaries of what is permitted. To do so would be imprudent and unfair. I will monitor the positivity rate and act accordingly when the threshold is met.”

My posture in that respect remains the same.