NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — On Tuesday morning, NOHD Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno announced that in response to the exponential growth of new COVID cases and hospitalizations statewide due to the Omicron variant, the City of New Orleans will be reinstating the indoor face mask mandate.

The mandate will go into effect at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.

The announcement came at the Mayor’s weekly press briefing, led by Beau Tidwell, Director of Communications.

According to Dr. Avegno, COVID-19 cases have significantly increased in Orleans Parish in the past month due to the omicron variant. The omicron variant is more contagious than previous strains and is the dominant variant nationwide.

“Our current average daily number of cases is 1,233. That is nearly three times the previous record of April 2020, and that does not reflect home tests, because those generally don’t get reported.”

The mask mandate will be in place for all public indoor spaces, including all K-12 schools and healthcare facilities throughout Orleans Parish. Masks will also be required for use of public transportation as detailed in the federal guidelines, for all residents ages 2 and older. COVID-19 mitigation measures implemented for certain businesses requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry will remain in place.

As COVID hospitalizations surge across the state, now exceeding 1,700 individuals, hospital capacity has been severely impacted. Hospitals have shut down elective procedures and emergency departments are full. This is due to the more contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The New Orleans Health Department will also be distributing N95 masks. Distribution is scheduled to take place at the following locations Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Friday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., while supplies last:

  • Main Library, 219 Loyola Ave.
  • Algiers Regional Library, 3014 Holiday Drive
  • East New Orleans Regional Library, 5641 Read Blvd.
  • Milton H. Latter Memorial Library, 5120 St. Charles Ave.
  • Robert E. Smith Library, 6301 Canal Blvd.
  • Norman Mayer Library, 3001 Gentilly Blvd.
  • Hubbell Library, 725 Pelican Ave.

Guidelines will be updated at ready.nola.gov/restrictions. For ongoing COVID updates from the City of New Orleans, text COVIDNOLA to 77295.