LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Could public live music be returning to Lafayette despite its current ban due to Phase 2 guidelines for COVID-19 reopenings? After a legal opinion by La. Attorney General Jeff Landry, it very well could be.
Live music at large venues like the Cajundome is prohibited under the current Phase 2 guidelines from the federal government and a declaration from Gov. John Bel Edwards. However, smaller venues, like restaurants or cafes, may play music via a disc jockey over a speaker system.
Lafayette Consolidated Government Mayor-President Josh Guillory argues in his letter to Landry that he sees no difference between a disc jockey or jukebox and a live band, as long as the band members are counted in the building’s occupancy.
Guillory said he believed the spirit of the guidelines is to prevent mass concerts in large venues where social distancing cannot be observed. Smaller venues, however, should not be as restricted.
“My position is that we should allow indoor facilities, such as local restaurants and bats to have live music as long as all the other applicable regulations and laws are followed,” stated Guillory.
The state’s guidelines for live music are as follows:
Indoor live entertainment, which includes but is not limited to bands and karaoke, is not authorized in this phase. This limitation does not apply to disc jockeys or music played via speaker system.Phase 2 guidelines for event venues
“I believe the intent of the Governor’s restriction on live music is to prohibit mass concerts in large arenas where social distancing cannot be observed,” said Guillory, who is also a lawyer. “In order to restrict the freedom of individuals to assemble, said restrictions must be in the least restrictive manner and serve a compelling interest. It is my respectful position that prohibiting all live music indoors does not pass such strict scrutiny.”
Landry gave his opinion via a letter to State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, agreeing with Guillory’s interpretation. In his opinion, he said the state’s constitution does not allow for different treatment for live musicians and disc jockeys.
“While we acknowledge the state has a legitimate interest in preventing the spread of COVID-19, at this time no explanation is given for the different treatment outlined in the Phase 2 Guidance,” Landry stated.
Without a “legitimate justification” for allowing live entertainment by some performers and not others, the guideline is “constitutionally suspect,” Landry stated.
Download and read the Phase 2 guidelines for event venues:
Download and read Guillory’s letter to the attorney general’s office:
Download and read Jeff Landry’s reply to Guillory via State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning: