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Reopening New Orleans: Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler? Not So Fast!

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Mayor LaToya Cantrell has announced that the City of New Orleans will move to its Phase One Re-Opening on May 16 at 6 a.m. What will this look like? Some restrictions will remain in place while others will be relaxed.

What will remain in effect?

  • Residents are encouraged to stay home except for essential needs and other permitted activities.
  • Seniors and people with serious medical conditions should continue to stay home.
  • Gatherings are limited to family groups no larger than 10.
  • Face masks or coverings should be worn in public.
  • Residents should abide by all social distancing and hygiene rules while performing outdoor activities even if face masks are worn.
  • Residents should continue to work from home if you are able.
  • Residents who have been in close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive must quarantine for 14 days.
  • Stores within malls that do not have exterior entrances must remain closed, but they can continue with curb-side pickup.

What will change?

  • Shopping malls and retail stores with exterior entrances may reopen but are limited to 25 percent of their permitted occupancy.
  • Restaurants with table service should utilize a reservation or appointment system to assist with contact tracing if requested.
  • Outdoor seating at restaurants is allowed.
  • Indoor seating is allowed in restaurants, but it is limited to the 25 percent occupancy requirement.
  • Only bars that have a Louisiana Department of Health food permit are allowed to serve food.
  • All restaurants and bars serving food must arrange tables to keep parties at least six feet from others for both indoor and outdoor seating.
  • Alcoholic beverages can only be served with a food purchase at restaurants and food service establishments.
  • Beauty salons, barber shops and nail salons can re-open at 25 percent of their permitted occupancy and service must be by reservation or appointment only. Chairs must be arranged to keep patrons six feet apart and gloves must be worn and changed between customers.
  • Church services can resume, but are limited to 25 percent occupancy or 100 people, whichever is fewer. No choirs are permitted. There must be six feet between worshipers and a crowd manager to enforce social distancing measures. Fellowship halls and classrooms affiliated with the church are NOT allowed to re-open.
  • Childcare facilities, early learning centers, and K-12 school extracurricular programs can resume but are limited to 10 people per group, including adults. Contact sports are NOT permitted.
  • Movie theatres may re-open, but are limited to 25 percent occupancy or 100 people, whichever is fewer. There must be six feet of distance between patrons and a crowd manager to enforce social distancing measures. Interior gathering spaces CANNOT be used.
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums may re-open, but are limited to 25 percent occupancy. Admission must be staggered using an appointment or reservation system, and there must be six feet between patrons in small groups, with a crowd manager to enforce social distancing measures. Interior gathering spaces CANNOT be used.
  • Gyms may re-open but are limited to 25 percent occupancy. No contact sports or group classes are allowed. Individual personal training is allowed without physical touching and strict social distancing. Equipment and exercise areas must be re-arranged to keep patrons six feet apart and locker rooms, showers, saunas and spas are NOT ALLOWED.
  • Office buildings will re-open limited to a 25 percent occupancy and conference rooms are limited to 10 people so long as they are separated by six feet.
  • Libraries may re-open but are limited to a 25 percent occupancy and NO story time or group events are allowed.
  • Parks and playgrounds will re-open, but visitors must avoid close contact with others. NO bleacher or dugout use is allowed.
  • Racetracks can re-open, but NO spectators or casinos/video poker are allowed.

The City specifically stated that the following are NOT ALLOWED to re-open or occur in any form during Phase One:

  • Casinos and video poker establishments
  • Spas, tattoo and massage parlors
  • Live entertainment, amusement and event venues
  • Children's museums
  • Bars that do not have a food permit
  • Private gatherings with more than a reasonable household size

The Department of Safety and Permits and the New Orleans Police Department will enforce requirements set forth in Phase One operations, including the limit on gatherings. Anyone found guilty of violating these requirements may receive a misdemeanor citation that could include a fine up to $500 or six months in jail.

If you have a business or organization in Orleans Parish, you MUST register with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal at OpenSafely.la.gov, which is designed to answer business owners' questions and provide information on safely re-opening.

The City of New Orleans has also provided information to protect the safety and health of workers, and patrons training, as well as tips to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease frequently asked questions about COVID-19 in the workplace is also a helpful resource.

If you have any questions about New Orleans' Phase One Re-Opening, please contact Noah Kressler or Nyka Scott. Also, please visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19): What You Need to Know information page on our website.

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