New Orleans Lifts Vaccine Requirement

Photo by Marisol Benitez on Unsplash

The City of New Orleans announced today that the mandate requiring residents and visitors to provide proof of full vaccination or a recent negative COVID test to enter bars, restaurants, event spaces, and other businesses has been lifted.

The news comes as Louisiana celebrates having the lowest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the beginning of the pandemic, with only 205 new COVID cases added across the state on Friday. With the three weeks post-Mardi Gras day mark occurring on Tuesday, and wastewater testing in New Orleans showing low viral transmission, city health officials feel now is the time to further relax the strict guidelings put in place during the Carnival season.

“This is a critical and welcome milestone,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “I am deeply grateful to our entire community – our residents, our business owners, and our hospitality industry – for coming together to make this day possible. It could not have happened without our people taking the guidelines seriously and helping us not only flatten the curve – but emerge from the pandemic as a safe destination city. With the return of Mardi Gras this year, we were able to celebrate safely. And now we are ready for the next step. We will continue to closely monitor the data, and remain guided by science.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) noted on Friday that vaccines continue to be the best way for those 5 years and older to protect themselves against COVID-19, including the Omicron subvariant BA.2. During the Omicron surge, hospitalizations increased at a rate that was 12 times higher among unvaccinated adults when compared to vaccinated adults. Those who received a booster had the lowest risk of COVID-19 associated ventilation or death.

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve implemented the tools and educated the public about the dangers of this virus, and we feel confident this approach has saved lives and kept our economy open,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, Director of the New Orleans Health Department.

The City continues to encourage all residents and visitors to get their vaccination and booster as soon as possible. Federal mask mandates will continue to be enforced on public transportation and in healthcare facilities as required. Residents should also be prepared for the likelihood of future surges even as COVID-19 moves from a pandemic to an endemic status.



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