NEW ORLEANS — It’s usually the most festive time of the year for New Orleanians, but covid is completely transforming our traditional Mardi Gras celebrations.

“Starting next Friday, through Mardi Gras day, all bars in the city of New Orleans will be closed. Both indoor and outdoor city wide,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

This includes bars operating as restaurants with a conditional permit. Plus, no liquor sales will be permitted at any stores in the French Quarter, including to-go drinks.

No bars, no drinks and no crowds; all in an effort to stop the spread of covid-19. Starting this weekend, the entire city will have enhanced police presence from several different organizations

“We’ll be all hands on deck with officers from other districts as well. Along with our Louisiana State Police on patrol. The criminal sheriff’s department will also will be on mounting patrol with our officers,” said New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson.

Many people are upset with Friday’s announcement, especially those in the hospitality industry.

“It’s kind of stressful because I don’t know how I’m going to pay my bills honestly!” said Anthony Bodie.

Bodie has worked at Tropical Isle for three years, and he says this upcoming week is the most critical.

“This is actually the time where we make our most money, and now, we’re barely surviving,” said Bodie.

The city says until New Orleans permanently flattens the curve, our traditional celebrations will be anything but.

Mayor Cantrell is urging folks in the hospitality business to make their unemployment claims now for that five day period when the bars will be closed. She also said that Bourbon, Decatur and Frenchmen streets will be closed to pedestrians and vehicles from 7pm to 3am and no loitering is allowed.

Those who disobey these orders could get citations or even arrested, and businesses that disobey will be closed on the spot.