IBERIA PARISH, La. (KLFY) Governor John Bel Edwards says parishes with less than a five percent COVID-19 positive rate can re-open bars, but right now only two parishes in Acadiana meet that requirement: St. Landry Parish and Jefferson Davis Parish.
The owner of Quarter Tavern bar in New Iberia has been fighting to re-open his bar for the last six months.
He even filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Louisiana in the hopes of re-opening, but his injunction was shot down by a federal judge.
He hoped phase three would mean he’d finally get to open again, but he was wrong.
“I listened to the governor Thursday. He said we were going into phase three, but he really didn’t go into detail about it so we opened up Friday morning at nine o’clock. That’s one of my best days we’ve had since I’ve been having this bar for almost two years now. Then we opened again Saturday, and Saturday night State Fire Marshall and ATC came and shut us down saying we were over five percent,” Ty Boudoin, owner of Quarter Tavern, said.
Quarter Tavern bar is one of many bars in Acadiana, however, that still cannot open under phase three guidelines.
Only two parishes in Acadiana meet that requirement, and Iberia Parish is not one of them.
“The money its costing to keep our bars closed right now is unbelievable to start off with, and then we have a governor that for whatever reason hates bars. We can’t get a break,” Boudoin said.
Boudoin says he’s spending over $6,000 each month keeping his bar open, and now he’s being forced to think about shutting down his business.
“When it first came out, we understood. We didn’t know what it was, but now we’re six months into this. Just because we’re open doesn’t mean you have to come. It’s just like a poker machine. If it’s right there, you don’t have to play. Same thing with a bar. You don’t feel safe, don’t come. You want to wear a mask, wear a mask. It should be the people’s decision, not the governor’s,” the bar owner added.
Iberia Parish is currently at a 5.6% positive rate.
Boudoin says his only chance of re-opening his bar is if that number reaches below five percent and soon.
“We’re just going to follow the rules and hopefully, we’ll get a break sooner or later.”