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A bartender works behind the bar, Friday, July 31, 2020, during phase two of businesses reopening during the coronavirus pandemic at Bistro Byronz in Baton Rouge, La. Businesses said they were disappointed with Gov. John Bel Edwards’ decision to keep most bars closed and cut off alcohol sales at 10 p.m. as part of the ongoing effort to control the spread of the coronavirus.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council today will make a second attempt at giving its stamp of approval on bars reopening since the city-parish's test positivity rates for the coronavirus fell below the state's health benchmarks. 

The council's vote tonight is mostly a symbolic one. Bars reopened and on-premise alcohol sales have already resumed despite the council not being able to muster up enough votes at a special meeting Wednesday, when the reopening resolution was first presented for consideration.

The state's Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control approved a request earlier this week from Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome to allow bars to resume operation, given the strides the city-parish has made over the past two weeks in trying to mitigate spread of the virus.

But the parish attorney has said that request should have come from the Metro Council which is the governing authority of the parish. 

Per the governor's executive order outlining Phase 3 restrictions, the governing authority of a parish was required to opt-in to allow on-premise alcohol consumption. 

"It's better to be safe than sorry," Councilman Matt Watson said Thursday about why the Metro Council is going forward with the special meeting. 

Nearly half of the council didn't show up on Wednesday. All signs indicate more members will be present today, but it's still uncertain how the vote will go. 

The Metro Council needs seven "Yes" votes to pass the resolution. The resolution received only six votes Wednesday.

The online meeting starts at 4:30 p.m. And can viewed live here


Email Terry Jones at tjones@theadvocate.com