NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Carnival 2022 is expected to roll in New Orleans, but Mayor LaToya Cantrell as well as her advisory council of Krewe Captains is closely monitoring COVID-19 trends.
In two weeks, the Krewe of Boo will act as a litmus test for the city.
Leaders do not want Mardi Gras to become a super-spreader event like it was in 2020. Cantrell is also tasking krewes to think of additional mitigation measures to ensure riders and visitors stay safe.
Cantrell said riders will be required to be vaccinated or have a negative COVID test.
“We are coming at this with the spirit of wanting to have Carnival Season roll in 2022. We’re doing everything we can to ensure that happens,” Cantrell said.
The Mayor wants mitigation measures that people can live with to ensure they “live after Carnival.”
Cantrell said, “We want to demonstrate to the world that we’re taking their and all of our health very seriously.”
New Orleans Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno said while the city has a high vaccination rate, krewes need to encourage people to mask up during events and get vaccinated if possible.
“It’s really hard to change parade characteristics to make Mardi Gras a low risk event,” Avegno said. “We have to put those layers of protection on all other events that we do.”
Dennis Robertson, Jr. is Zulu’s Carnival Activity Chairman. His organization was hit hard by COVID.
“I lost my dad and my assistant Bobby Gray,” Robertson said. “This tradition of Mardi Gras, the city won’t survive without it. The Zulu krewe is always there to be that first krewe to get us through.”
Each krewe understands the risks of Carnival as Louisiana comes off its fourth COVID surge.
Barry Kern, President and CEO of Kern Studios believes the city is ready to welcome people back safely.
“It’s our business number one, but also, it’s the business of New Orleans to put on events. Frankly, I’m hoping that this will be the message to the world just like Mardi Gras was post Katrina that New Orleans is open for business and we’re ready to go,” Kern said.