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What To Know About New Orleans’ Proof Of COVID Vaccination Policy, Business Enforcement

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The New Orleans vaccine mandate, which would require customers dining out or attending events to provide proof of inoculation or a negative COVID-19 test, went into effect Monday and will be enforced next week, city officials said.

The mandate requires everyone age 12 or older to show proof of at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine or negative PCR test from the past 72 hours to enter indoor restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment spaces.

Acceptable forms of proof are:

  • A CDC-issued vaccination card.
  • A photocopy or digital photograph of the front and back of the card.
  • A vaccine record.

Antigen tests are not acceptable in lieu of a negative test.
During a press conference Tuesday, Beau Tidwell, the communications director of the Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s office, announced that the city will impose cease and desist orders on businesses that don't comply with the mandate, as they did last fall.

Code enforcement officials will be responding to 311 calls and doing spot checks around the city.

Luke “Gunny” West, owner of Hollygrove fitness center G-Fit Nola, said he will start enforcing members of his gym to be vaccinated or bring in two negative tests a week when the city begins enforcement Aug. 23.

All told, West said his gym has lost about a dozen memberships because of the vaccine mandate, which he said is hard to rationalize.

"I'm a former Marine, 16 years of active duty. I've been inoculated with everything from Japanese Typhoid to Malaria to Anthrax," said West. "So why is everybody so afraid of a vaccination shot that is the most world-renowned study ever done?"

For other businesses, they’ve reported little to no issues with customers fighting the mandate.

Music venue and bar Gasa Gasa started a vaccine requirement last week before the mandate went into effect. Benjamin Moore, the venue’s manager, said they’ve only had one customer become upset over the rule.

"And I think they would have found something else to be angry about if it wasn't for that," said Moore.

Moore also noted that many customers have used the state-run application LA Wallet, an app that stores Louisiana residents’ identification and vaccine information within three minutes of downloading it.

Toups' Meatery in Mid-City began asking for vaccination status Monday morning, their bar manager said, and found customers were compliant with the measure. However, they will be offering a table to unvaccinated guests outside.

That same day, the pace didn’t slow down at the Satsuma Cafe on Maple Street, despite staff asking customers at the counter for proof of vaccination. Melony Cabrera added that patrons were ready to comply with the mandate.

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