NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — According to Mayor LaToya Cantrell, New Orleans has run out of options and the COVID situation is dire.
Beginning Monday, August 16, proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test will be required to participate in activities with what the city says is a “higher risk of COVID transmission.”
Mayor Cantrell believes this move is crucial to avoid tighter restrictions.
“We have to act now. We don’t have time.”
Cantrell knows she is making an unprecedented move as New Orleans becomes the first city in the south to implement a vaccine mandate in certain venues or proof of a negative COVID-test 72 hours prior.
“If you don’t know us by now, I don’t think you ever will,” Cantrell said. “We will continue to stand to protect the health of our community, the health of our people, the health of our economy the best that we can.”
Anyone 12 years of age and older, including employees, must provide proof of at least one dose of an approved COVID vaccine or negative PCR test within 72 hours to access to bars, restaurants, gyms, indoor entertainment like the Superdome, casinos and adult entertainment venues.
“Larger group sizes means more people get infected, uncontrolled crowds with people mixing and mingling significantly increases the rate of spread,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, New Orleans’ Health Director.
The city maintains the healthcare system is on life-support as hospitals are filled with many people primarily unvaccinated from outside of Orleans Parish. Cantrell believes her move will keep businesses and schools open.
Some visitors support her plan.
“That’s the only way they have in order for people to do the right thing,” said Christina Michaelson visiting from New Jersey.
Kathryn Coleman an incoming Freshmen at LSU said, “Knowing how many cases are rising, it will be nice to have that confirmation.”
Rebecca Allen said, “We vaccinate our kids when they’re two weeks old, three months old. We don’t have a second thought. Why wouldn’t we get vaccinated for this?”
One visitor from Florida believes Mayor Cantrell is infringing on people’s rights.
“To each their own on getting vaccinated and I think the Mayor saying you need a certain verification to enter will just push people to not go out more and businesses may lose money,” said Markia Butler.
As for those looking to skirt the requirements or even make a fake vaccination card, Dr. Avegno said, “The FBI has already made arrests for people who have tried. Doing so, simply prolongs the pandemic and makes it harder for all of us to recover.”
Mayor Cantrell said, “Follow the guidelines in place and we will come out of this together, upholding the values that makes this city so special.”
Click here for tips on how to prove your vaccination status, what to do if you lost your card and how to obtain a digital copy.