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'This is a critical time in our city' | Delta variant could restrict upcoming NOLA events

Depending on whether Coronavirus numbers remain high, that could mean possible restrictions such as mask mandates and crowd size limits.

NEW ORLEANS — The French Quarter and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festivals bring visitors to New Orleans from around the world. 

Both events moved from Spring to Fall, hoping the Coronavirus pandemic would be at a point where it was safe again for large gatherings. 

“We’ve been planning in coordination with our health officials, really throughout this process and looking forward to things opening up,” FQFI President and CEO Emily Madero said.

Then cases started spiking again in Louisiana. 

“This is a critical and very serious time in our city as we were pivoting to getting back to our festivals and opening up in ways we have been waiting for, for over a year and a half,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. “It’s very concerning where we are. It really is.” 

Cantrell said the festivals must abide by all of the City’s public health guidelines.  

Depending on whether Coronavirus numbers remain high, that could mean possible restrictions such as mask mandates and crowd size limits. 

“Unfortunately, we’re having to collaborate and make some tough decisions that are coming before us,” Cantrell said.  

Madero said it’s too early to tell what impact the current surge will have on her event now scheduled for Sept. 30 through Oct. 2. 

"We are in the middle of a very fluid situation,” Madero said. “Whatever we do will be in accordance with local guidelines and CDC guidelines at the time.”

New Orleans Saints officials said they continue to monitor the Covid situation in Louisiana and are staying in touch with both City leaders and their own health experts.  

While they remain optimistic the team will be able to start the season in the Ceasars Superdome with a full house, they say they are completely aware of the recent surge and are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. 

The mayor says she’s determined to keep gameday alive, but admits attendance could also be scaled back if Covid cases continue to surge. 

“All things are on the table,” Cantrell said. “I will be working with and talking with leadership affiliated with the Saints, so that we make the best decision for public health and public health outcomes for our city and really for our state.” 

The Saints preseason home opener is Aug. 23, against the Jacksonville Jaguars.