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New Orleans begins Phase 2 Saturday; see the guidelines

Last week, New Orleans Department of Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno hinted that New Orleans could join the rest of Louisiana and enter phase two soon.

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell along with city health leaders on Tuesday outlined plans for moving the city to phase two of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Cantrell laid out some of the major changes:

  • Businesses reopened at 25% can move to 50% capacity with social distancing/face coverings. That includes restaurants, bars with food permits and museums.
  • Bars can reopen at 25% capacity
  • Outdoor pools at 25% capacity
  • Houses of worship can operate at 50% capacity or 250 people (whichever is less), but will not be allowed to have choirs performing.
  • Movie Theaters can reopen at 50% capacity or 250 people (whichever is less)
  • Gaming establishments (casinos, video poker) operate at 25% capacity. This is for Harrah’s, fair grounds, etc.
  • Weddings, funerals, other gatherings limited to 100 people with one crowd control officer per 50 people (mandated by state fire marshall)
  • All indoor live entertainment, festivals, fairs, amusement parks, concert halls and music venues will remain closed.

The mayor said that phase 2 will last at least 21 days before the city further lifts restrictions.

Cantrell and New Orleans Department of Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno shared the updates in a press conference Tuesday afternoon, presenting analysis of COVID-19 data from Orleans Parish.

Last week, Avegno hinted that New Orleans could join the rest of Louisiana and enter phase two soon. She said that the city could enter its own modified version of phase two as early as this week assuming the data showed promising results.

"We're meeting all of the milestones. We’re getting very close," Dr. Avegno said last Wednesday. "I feel very confident that unless we see something really strange and different in the next couple days.”

Cantrell had previously said the city was waiting on data from Memorial Day to decide when New Orleans might enter phase two, despite Governor John Bel Edwards announcing the state would do so last Friday.

It's not immediately clear how the rules of phase two would differ in the city, but many wonder when bars that do not serve food will be able to reopen -- a key piece included in Edwards' phase two.  

Avegno said that New Orleans officials will look at the State's plan when it is released in full on Friday and go from there.

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