New Orleans began allowing some businesses and churches to re-open — or expand their operations — in a limited capacity Saturday.
According to a re-opening plan by Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s office unveiled earlier this week, businesses including gyms, salons and movie theaters as well as cultural institutions — including zoos and museums — and houses of worship would be allowed to open again so long as they followed city mandates delineating occupancy and other restrictions on their operations.
Restaurants, which have been allowed to fulfill carry-out and delivery orders, were also permitted to resume dine-in services on Saturday with limited seating — 25% of normal capacity for indoor dining — and a use of a reservation system is encouraged.
Other notable eateries, however, including the James Beard-awarding winning, Commander’s Palace did not intend to open Saturday.
Movie and theaters and houses of worship in the city were allowed to open with a quarter of their capacity or up to 100 people, whichever was less, according to guidelines.
Gyms, museums, beauty and hair salons were are also allowed to open, if they followed specific measures to reduce capacity and maintain social distancing.
Mayor Cantrell laid out the plan on Tuesday, around the time Louisiana’s governor, John Bel Edwards, announced similar state plans. The guidance outlines procedures many non-essential businesses and establishments would have to follow to open during phase 1 of the city’s re-opening plan.
Both state and city officials say they’ve met federal benchmarks to begin the phased re-opening.