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New Orleans back open (mostly)

Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test will be required to get into "gatherings" opened at 100% capacity.

NEW ORLEANS — Restrictions on bars, restaurants and music venues are being lifted in New Orleans this weekend, but you may need proof of vaccination to get into some large events.

The City of New Orleans announced that the 1 a.m. curfew on bars and restaurants is being lifted this weekend, as well as the six-foot spacing requirements on tables. Customers will also be allowed to stand at bars again.

There are still COVID-19 restrictions placed on large indoor and outdoor gatherings, however. According to the City of New Orleans, large indoor events can reopen at 100% capacity if they require customers to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to get in or if they require masks. If not, they can open at 50% capacity.

Large outdoor events can reopen under the same guidelines, but at a higher 75% if they don't require proof of vaccine, a negative COVID-19 test or masks.

The COVID-related ban on second lines and parades will also be removed.

“I think we’re gonna bring the spirit back to the French Quarter,” said Richard Anderson of Kinfolk Brass Band.

He said the band has had performances lined up at weddings this weekend, and now gets to tell couples they can second line down the streets, without fear of repercussions from the city.

“We’ve gotta do it the full way. Like, trying to get on the phone tomorrow, asap, see if we can call the police, get a permit from the city, like, let’s go!” he said.

The new rules go into effect on Friday, May 28, at 6 a.m.

Here are the full restrictions as laid out by the City:

Masks

  • Fully vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear masks.
  • Unvaccinated individuals should wear masks and are encouraged to get vaccinated ASAP.
  • Businesses may require masks for safety purposes.
  • Masks are required in the following buildings:
    • City government facilities
    • K-12 and post-secondary institutions
    • Hospitals
    • Federally regulated transportation 

Social Distancing

  • Fully vaccinated individuals are no longer required practice social distancing.
  • Unvaccinated individuals should practice social distancing and are encouraged to get vaccinated ASAP.
  • Businesses may require social distancing for safety purposes.

Gathering Sizes

  • Indoor gatherings limited to 250 individuals. Outdoor gatherings limited to 500 individuals.  
  • Large indoor events will now be allowed to occur with one of the following options:

    • 50% capacity without masks and distancing, or
    • 100% capacity with masks required, or
    • 100% capacity without masks if individuals provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours
  • Large outdoor events will now be allowed to occur with one of the following options:

    • 75% capacity without masks and distancing, or
    • 100% capacity with masks required, or
    • 100% capacity without masks if individuals provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours

Live Entertainment and Special Events

  • Live entertainment is allowed with a Special Event Permit or Certificate of Registration following the gathering size guidelinees.
  • The COVID-related ban on second lines and parades will be removed and will be replaced by the traditional event permitting processes within the Department of Safety and Permits.

Alcoholic Beverages

  • There are no longer pandemic-related restrictions on the sale of alcohol in Orleans Parish.

Open Safely

  • All businesses and organizations in Orleans Parish should register with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal at opensafely.la.gov to receive sector-specific guidelines for reopening.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards removed almost all of the restrictions on crowd sizes and mask wearing in the state earlier this week.

Schools will be required to keep mask mandates in place until the current semester is over, but can make their own determination about masks starting with any summer school sessions or programs.

Mask mandates will remain on public transportation, he said, which is a federal requirement. And mask mandates will continue at health care facilities, jails and prisons.