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New Orleans Plans To Ease More Restrictions This Week

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Ashley Dean For WWNO
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Paladar 511 has remained open in the Marigny under coronavirus restrictions.

New Orleans will ease more coronavirus restrictions on bars, sports venues and churches later this week as the city moves into “Phase 3.2”, a city spokesman announced at a press conference Tuesday.

The new regulations, which the city anticipates officially announcing on Thursday, will allow bars that offer outdoor seating to serve guests at 25 percent of the outdoor area with a cap at 50 patrons, according to Beau Tidwell, the city’s director of communications. He also said sports fans will be able to gather for outdoor games at 25 percent of the facilities’ capacity or at 500 people, depending on which number is smaller. Finally churches can allow 50 percent capacity with no more than 500 people in attendance.

The pandemic is also affecting the city government’s finances, forcing Mayor LaToya Cantrell to begin furloughing employees for one day each pay period. Tidwell said the furloughs started this week and will continue for the remaining six pay periods in 2020.

“We continue to look for every possible way we can responsibly manage tax payers’ trust,” Tidwell said, placing the cause for the measure on how the federal and state governments allocated and distributed emergency funding from the Cares Act to cities and municipalities.

“This is not a decision that the mayor made lightly,” Tidwell said. “Given the economic realities we face [and] given the way the Cares Cct funding was distributed and diluted at the state level -- that was the decision that was before us.”

At the same time that Tidwell addressed the press in New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell was in Baton Rouge discussing funding with the House Appropriations Committee. Cantrell is urging state lawmakers to allocate more federal funding to New Orleans.

“Right now my people are going on furloughs, along with myself,” Cantrell told legislators, later adding “I can’t run a city on hope.”

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