New Orleans COVID-19 Live Performance Permit Rules: Yes To Porch Shows, No To 'Unorganized' Dancing

Nov 11, 2020

New Orleans musicians, comedians and other live performers can begin to get back on stage as the city continues reopening in phases.

Although some live entertainment was already allowed under Phase 3.2, the city released new information about the live entertainment permitting process on Wednesday as it moved into Phase 3.3. Live musical performances, plays, stand up comedy, burlesque, dance and magic shows all require a COVID-19 Special Events Permit or a Certificate of Registration. Which one depends on the type of event.

For front porch concerts at someone’s home, drive-in shows at a park, live bands in bar courtyards or at weddings that are not held inside reception halls, a Special Event Permit will do.

If restaurants, reception halls or adult entertainment venues want to host regular live performances, they’ll need a Certificate of Registration.

Director of Health Dr. Jennifer Avegno said in a press conference Monday that the city has “heard the concerns that some businesses and individuals have been confused about the rules around live entertainment, and they have been confusing.” These new guidelines are aimed at clearing up that confusion.

“We know that our culture bearers provide the pulse of this city,” Cantrell said in a press release. “My administration has worked closely with leaders of New Orleans’ cultural economy throughout the pandemic to find creative ways to safely provide the entertainment that is our lifeblood.”

But New Orleans’ live performers have suffered great financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic bringing tourism to a halt in the spring. According to New Orleans Business Alliance, at least 8 percent of the city’s residents relied on the gig economy to make ends meet.

Social distancing guidelines — performers wearing masks when not actively singing, lip-syncing, speaking or playing a wind-blown instrument — and restrictions on singing, karaoke and wind-blown instruments indoors still apply. While dance performances are allowed with the right permits, “unorganized” dancing, like at a wedding or night club, is still prohibited.