LSU-area bars linked to at least 100 reports of COVID-19; closures announced

Updated: Jun. 20, 2020 at 4:39 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana’s health department said Friday, June 19, that officials have linked at least 100 cases of COVID-19 to bars near the campus of Louisiana State University (LSU).

A cluster of bars near campus called Tigerland is believed to be a major contributor to the outbreak of cases, health officials said.

Anyone who visited Tigerland bars over the weekend should consider themselves exposed to COVID-19 and should self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.

Symptoms may appear between 2 an 14 days after exposure to the virus.

People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Anyone with known exposure and any of the above symptoms should contact their healthcare provider to get tested. If you do not have a healthcare provider, you can call 211 who can help you identify one.

At least three bars near the LSU campus have employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), owners of the establishments confirmed Friday.

The Tigerland-area bars include JL’s Place, Reggie’s, and Fred’s.

The Louisiana Department of Health says it is investigating possible COVID-19 outbreaks at JL’s Place and Reggie’s bar that might have exposed both employees and customers to the virus.

The co-owner of those two bars said Friday the businesses would remain closed for one week in order to get all employees tested and deep-clean the premises.

He confirmed three employees at Reggie’s have tested positive for the virus. He said he was still waiting to get a count of how many employees at JL’s Place are infected.

“So we just decided an abundance of precaution to shut down, wait for everybody to get tested and have time to have a professional sanitizing company to come in and disinfect everything,” he said.

A woman who spoke to WAFB-TV and wished to remain anonymous said her son and a friend visited JL’s Place last week. She says her son and his friend were both diagnosed with COVID-19 this past Wednesday.

“We have been notified of a number of COVID-19 cases potentially linked to this business (JL’s Place) and are actively investigating,” Louisiana Department of Health Public Information Officer Mindy Faciane said.

Faciane confirmed the state is also investigating the potential outbreak at Reggie’s Bar.

The owner of the third bar, Fred’s, confirms two of his employees have tested positive for the virus.

He said those two employees are recovering at home and are not currently working. He was still deciding Friday afternoon whether to open the bar this weekend.

“Everybody who is scheduled to work this weekend has been tested and they’re negative. We are working on getting to test later today for girlfriends and roommates just because we’re not just worried about our employees, we’re also worried about the people they’re living with too,” he said.

Owners at JL’s, Reggie’s and Fred’s said they were following the protocols for Phase 2 which include employees wearing masks, limiting capacity, and providing hand sanitizer for customers.

However, despite their efforts, all three of those bars have employees who tested positive. Some of those positive cases, the employees didn’t show any symptoms at all, the owners said.

Even if the bars are only at 25% capacity, experts say that can still be a lot of people.

State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says his office responds to complaints, but customers can do something too.

“If you go into a place that you didn’t think is safe, there is too many people there, you don’t think employees are wearing masks like they should, you have every right in the world to complain about that just as you would complain about a meal wasn’t prepared correctly,” said Browning.

LDH has a list of COVID-19 test sites on its website which you can find by clicking the link here.

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