LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Under Governor John Bel Edwards' Phase 3 order, bars in parishes where the infection of COVID-19 is low can reopen with restrictions and limited hours.
Jeff Davis is the only parish in Region 5 so far with a positivity rate of 5% or less.
The L A Bar in Lake Arthur closed for a couple of months before reopening in September with 25% indoor capacity.
Area bar owners say the reduced capacity looks a lot different for small establishments compared to what 25% capacity would look like at a bar in a bigger city.
“We are still having to manage our capacity thing,” owner Christopher Price said upon reopening. “I hate turning away regulars, I mean there are people that come here every day but on the weekend, they show up a little late and we’re at capacity.”
While COVID-19 restrictions ease on parishes that have a low infection rate, Lake Arthur bar owners said the rules don’t make sense to them. Their space is smaller than bars in big towns and they have different patrons.
“We have a small town bar, we’re different from Baton Rouge," Price said. "We’re not Lafayette, we’re not New Orleans, we shouldn’t be treated the same way as them.”
Kim Johnson is a co-owner of Paradise II, a bar located north of L A Bar.
“We don’t have that younger crowd here in town,” Johnson said. "I mean it’s okay if we do, but we don’t. You get into bigger towns you have much bigger bars so of course jam-pack more people in there. I think we should have been looked at differently.”
Both Price and Johnson wish the best for bar owners in Region 5.
“Hang in there, hopefully we’ll all get through this together and good luck," Johnson said.
“I just hope that they can open as soon as they can," Price said.
The Governor’s new order requires bars to close at 11 p.m.
Live music is still prohibited indoors.