Bring back go-cups for New Orleans bars
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Bars in New Orleans remain fully shut down, unable even to serve to-go drinks. New Orleans was celebrated for it's "go-cup" culture long before the pandemic made the practice commonplace nationwide. It's also a type of service that we can do relatively safely in current circumstances, which is why it has become so prevalent around the country in the last few months.
Small, independent neighborhood bars are a cornerstone of New Orleans culture. While certain restrictions are very much needed to protect public health, without critical revenue from selling drinks to-go, scores of New Orleans bars will go out of business forever.
The ban on bars serving drinks to-go has not prevented groups from congregating outdoors, its stated intention. People still buy drinks at liquor stores, groceries, gas stations, pharmacies, and corner stores. With all of these other sources, all the ban does in practice is ensure that people don't get their drinks from bars.
The only way for bars to do any business at all right now is to apply for a conditional restaurant permit and do on-premise food and drink sales. In a pandemic, this is significantly more dangerous for bar staff and guests than selling drinks to-go, and for many bars it's not an option.
Mayor Cantrell, please, if you want neighborhood bars in our city to survive, let New Orleans bars serve drinks to-go.
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