NEW ORLEANS — On Wednesday morning, the city of New Orleans provided an update on the ongoing efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in New Orleans.
Due to cases and hospitalizations decreasing over the past several weeks, the City of New Orleans announced a Modified Phase Two, with increased capacity limits and gathering restrictions,.
The new guidelines will go into effect Friday, Jan. 29 at 6 a.m. and will last through the Mardi Gras holiday.
“I want to thank our residents for doing the hard work of flattening the curve for a third time. We have done a commendable job of lowering our COVID-19 case rate over the past several weeks,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “However, this does not mean that we can let our guard down at all. This is a pivotal moment for us to keep the momentum going, and to do that we must all mask up, practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings. Everyone has a part to play in this effort, and everyone has a stake in our collective success.”
Cases, hospitalizations, and the percent of positive tests in Orleans Parish are on the decline over the last two weeks. However, many of these measures are still within the “high” to “critical” categories in the City’s COVID-19 Dashboard. These small strides allow some restrictions on activities to be eased, while continuing mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“By seriously restricting the interaction between people in New Orleans over the last three weeks, we have seen an improvement in all of the metrics we’re watching,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno. “However, we’re nowhere near out of the woods.”
The Modified Phase Two will begin in Orleans Parish at 6 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 29, with the following major changes:
- Most sectors will be allowed to resume to 50% capacity, including restaurants, retail establishments, office buildings, etc.
- Bars are not included in this category, who by State regulations are still required to be closed indoors
- Social gatherings are limited to 10 individuals indoors and 25 individuals outdoors, with masks and social distancing required
- Timed, seated events are limited to 50% capacity, including Church services, classrooms, movie theaters, etc.
The new guidelines also include a revamped section on live entertainment rules and permitting, based on national research and engagement with local stakeholders in the musician and venue communities.
All live entertainment will still require a permit; however, a new and simple permit has been developed for porch concerts and will be granted at no charge. Indoor live entertainment is allowed in restaurants and event venues, although singing and wind-blown instruments continues to be banned indoors.
Outdoor live entertainment will be allowed with an audience of up to 25 members (drive-in events will be allowed up to 25 households). In all settings, masks and social distancing are required by both performers and audience members.