Crowds were dispersed from New Orleans’ famous Bourbon Street on Saturday night as police officers enforced the city’s ban on large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a now-viral video posted on Twitter, police cars are seen moving slowly through the popular tourist spot and imploring partiers to go home.
“By order of the governor and the mayor, large crowds of people are prohibited from congregating together. Your actions are jeopardizing public health and we are directing you to clear the streets and to go home or back to your hotel. Thank you for your cooperation,” an officer said over a loudspeaker as sirens blare.
On Sunday evening, Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) issued guidelines for bars and restaurants throughout the city in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Under her edict, “all full-service restaurants with seating cease operations at 9 p.m. daily” and will “limit their seating capacity for social distancing.”
“The goal is to reduce seating by up to 50%,” read the guidelines, which also stipulate that bars and nightclubs will limit their capacities by the same and “will cease service at 12 a.m. daily.”
The police enforcement of the large gathering ban comes on the heels of Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) closing public schools from March 16 through April 13 and instituting a limit of all public gatherings to 250 people on Friday.
In another statement on Sunday evening, Cantrell said: “This is a crisis. This is real. You have to pay attention. The news this morning of a second death in Orleans Parish is heartbreaking, personally — and is additional tragic news for the people of our City. We are losing loved ones. We all have a role to play — every resident in this City.”
As of Monday morning, cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus, had reached 79 in New Orleans and totaled 114 in all of Louisiana.
“Practice social distancing, wash hands & stay home if sick,” Cantrell said on Twitter.