New Orleans will move into Phase 3.3 of it’s reopening plan Wednesday. Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Health Department Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno announced the loosened restrictions in a press conference on Monday.
Bars and breweries will be allowed to welcome patrons indoors at 25 percent capacity, with a maximum of 50 people. They are allowed 100 percent capacity outdoors, with no more than 50 people. Indoor gatherings, including weddings and funerals, may increase attendee sizes from 50 people to 100 people, provided that everyone wear masks and maintain 6 feet of distance between each other. Outdoor events can go from 100 people to 150 people.
“We feel that we have been very successful because we have done incremental increases in gathering sizes and that’s really allowed us to assess what happens when you do that in a small step, rather than going from zero to 250 all in one fell swoop,” Avegno said.
Indoor live entertainment is still prohibited from bars. Avegno said the city government has been working with the Safety and Permits Department to create new guidelines for live entertainment and admitted that the rules have been confusing.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for folks to know what they can do safely and to get it fast tracked,” Avegno said.
Cantrell urged anyone who attended a large gathering, like the unauthorized Christian worship service and concert that was held on Decatur Street on Saturday, to get tested for COVID-19.
“We have to double down in our efforts to remain safe as we ease restrictions in our community,” Cantrell said.
Both Cantrell and Avegno praised New Orleans’ residents for keeping the numbers of new COVID-19 cases relatively low.
“Our residents have been doing what’s necessary to curb this pandemic,” Cantrell said.
Avegno noted that New Orleans and Louisiana are “incredibly unique” compared to other parts of the country where new cases of COVID-19 are on the rise.
“We are a good outlier and we want to remain it,” Avegno said. “Mask wearing is the norm here and that has saved countless lives.”
Avegno warned that we could see another surge in cases as the temperature cools and said, “We can’t be complacent.”