Yesterday 19th Judicial District Judge Janice Clark ruled in support of Governor John Bel Edwards COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. This ruling means that the statewide mask mandate will stay in effect and that bars will remain closed. Which, as you might imagine, did not sit well with bar owners across the state who feel as if the Governor's orders have singled them out.

But perhaps all is not lost for bar owners as we all attempt to navigate our way through the coronavirus pandemic and back into a sense of normalcy. Yesterday, in comments made to the media, Governor Edwards said the state is working with bar owners to expedite the process necessary for a bar to earn a temporary permit to operate as a restaurant. 

The Governor suggested in his comments that bars that can safely transition into restaurants, at least temporarily, will be allowed to open as long as they functioned as a restaurant. According to the Governor, that would make them safer.

Editorial time here, I have no idea how the COVID-19 virus is going to know whether a place is serving food or not. This is why I can understand the bar owners' frustrations with the Governor's orders. What's the difference between drinking three beers versus sitting at the same table drinking three beers and eating a plate of chicken wings? I am pretty sure the virus is not concerned about whether you're eating or drinking.  Okay, enough of the soapbox.

The Governor did say that his office is attempting to give as many bar owners as much flexibility as it can to reopen but reopen safely. The state has been working with those who meet the requirements to operate as restaurants to swiftly move through the permitting process.

This would at least allow some bar owners in the state to operate at a limited capacity instead of being totally shuttered for at least the next three weeks or maybe even longer. Hopefully, this temporary transition will mean that when we come out from under this pandemic that we will have places to celebrate our friends and swap stories of "that time in 2020". But, these business owners need a way to survive until that can happen.