Updated Guidance for Hospitality and Retail Industry

By the Alcoholic Beverage Licensing and Related Enforcement Issues Practice Group

***Please note this article and these rules are current as of May 7, 2020, and may be subject to change.

Louisiana Stay At Home Order Extended to May 15

The Louisiana Stay At Home Order has been extended until May 15, with the following parameters for business operations:

  • Businesses that were expressly directed to be closed in the previous Stay At Home Orders remain closed.
  • Businesses that are deemed essential under the third phase of federal CISA guidance may still be open.
  • Non-essential retail businesses in Louisiana continue to be able to open with fewer than 10 people total inside.
  • Malls remain closed to the public, but stores may open for curbside delivery.
  • Restaurants are allowed to open their outside areas for patrons to eat meals only, without tableside service.
  • All employees of a business who have contact with the public must wear a mask.

Guidelines for Operation of Restaurant Outside Areas

The state ATC has published a Notice with guidelines for the consumption of food and beverage within the outside areas of restaurant premises that are now allowed to be open to the public, pursuant to the May 1 extended Stay At Home Order:

  • Restaurants may open their outside areas for patrons to eat meals only.
  • Patrons picking up food to consume within the outside area may also consume alcoholic beverages, including mixed drinks, but only if sold in conjunction with meals.
  • Alcoholic beverages must be consumed within designated outside areas.
  • Tableside service to a designated outside area is strictly prohibited.

The ATC Notice reiterates that all employees of businesses who have contact with the public must wear a mask, and businesses must strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines. Additionally, the ATC notes that businesses offering outside seating must comply with the guidance issued by the State Fire Marshal (SFM):

  • Reduce outdoor capacity to 25% of that allowed by SFM.
  • Space tables a minimum of 10 feet from each other (measured from all edges of the table).
  • Limit table groups to 10 individuals.
  • Eliminate gatherings in the building when entering or exiting outdoor seating area. Patrons must not be permitted to loiter within the premises or doorways.
  • Open areas and temporary tents remain subject to local ordinances and, if permitted, must meet health and safety codes.

The modification in this Notice related to on-premise consumption of food and alcohol within the outside areas of restaurants does not modify the guidelines issued by the ATC on May 23 for curbside and delivery services. Those guidelines remain in full effect until further notice.

The full ATC Notice and State Fire Marshal guidelines can be found here.

Effect of Previously Issued ATC Notices Under Amended Stay At Home Order

  • The state ATC has further confirmed:
  • The ATC office is still closed to the public and only accepting filings via email or mail (or renewals online), until May 15 or further notice. Payment options are still limited to mailed check or credit card by phone with an authorized ATC staff member.
  • Temporary delivery permits are still being issued and will be set to expire on May 31.
  • Retailers may continue to purchase wine and liquor with credit card until May 15 or further notice.
  • The extended 45-day period from the initial March 16 Stay At Home Order, within which the ATC allowed bars and restaurants to make payment on purchases from wine and spirits wholesalers, has not been further extended beyond April 30. Retailers may only purchase wine and spirits for cash or for payment within 15 days from delivery, as provided by La. R.S. 26:148.
  • No additional permit expiration dates have been extended. (The ATC had previously granted an extension until April 30 for state permits due to expire March 31. The ATC has specifically advised that permits expiring April 30 have not been granted an extension.)

Read the March 26 article on the “Impact of the Stay At Home Order on Alcoholic Beverage and Tobacco Retailers, Wholesalers, and Manufacturers”.

Governor Edwards is expected to make an announcement on moving to Phase 1 in Louisiana on or before May 11.

The Taylor Porter Alcoholic Beverage Licensing and Related Enforcement Issues Practice Group continues to monitor the legal developments pertaining to COVID-19. Please let us know how we can help you in any way to answer your questions about your operations may be impacted.