NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Word of the mayor’s Mardi Gras bar shut down spread quickly across Mid City. Many bar workers were already struggling and looking forward to a carnival income boost.
In a city where the hospitality industry is king, the pandemic has made many feel like paupers.
“It’s been very rough, just the unknown, living and knowing that the unknown is coming our way,” says Michaela Czerniak a bartender at Banks St. Bar.
Mid City bartenders were looking forward to increased business for Carnival under existing Covid-19 limitations and were caught off guard by Mayor Cantrell’s order to shut them down for five days beginning next Friday.
“For it to be shut down for Mardi Gras is quite tough for us bartenders and the rest of us working in the industry,” said bartender Laura Fitzpatrick at Finn McCool’s Bar.
Many feel neighborhood bars were being unfairly treated because of unruly crowds on Bourbon.
“Oh definitely. I mean, it’s a different city when you’re sitting outside here at Fins compared to the French Quarter,” said Fitzpatrick.
Nearly a year into the pandemic many have learned to roll with the punches, now they have to deal with one more.
“My livelihood has changed, I’m working unhealthy hours and it’s taking a toll on my mental health,” said Fitzpatrick.
Some say they’re ready to get out of town.
“And I’ll leave Mardi Gras going skiing which is something I’ve never been able to do,” said Chuck Wattigny with Select Crawfish Co.
Others say money is too tight and they can’t wait for this pandemic to be over.
“It’s still a day by day basis with most people but fingers crossed and the hope is there that we will get back to full swing like New Orleans used to be,” said Czerniak.
The bartenders we spoke with said they were confident they could have safely operated through Mardi Gras under Coronavirus guidelines.
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