The new rule will apply to those who want to visit bars, restaurants, breweries, gyms, fitness centers, sports complexes and stadiums, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Thursday, as officials work to stem the latest rise in Covid-19 infections.
At least 2,901 people in Louisiana are hospitalized with Covid-19, health officials said on Thursday, which is the state’s highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic.
“This update represents increases across all regions and age groups,” the Louisiana Department of Health tweeted.
Approximately 37.9% of the state’s total population are fully vaccinated, which is one of the lowest rates in the country, according to federal health data Thursday.
Late last month, Cantrell instituted a mask mandate in indoor settings and large outdoor crowds in New Orleans for everyone regardless of vaccination status. At the time, she said emergency medical responders were hit so hard with a spike in Covid-19 cases that they didn’t have the capacity to handle 911 calls.
The order will become effective Monday, and the city will begin aggressive enforcement on August 23.
“But again, I’m encouraging our businesses, you don’t have to wait, you can go ahead and activate,” Cantrell said. “Don’t look for reasons to be the exception. Don’t look for the loopholes. Look for your vaccination card and be prepared to show it.”
People must prove they have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine or that they tested negative for the virus no more than 72 hours prior.
Concert centers, music halls, event spaces, adult performances, casinos and racetracks are expected to adhere to the latest public health safety measure, intended to mitigate Covid-19 infections in places considered to have higher transmission of the coronavirus. Large outdoor activities of more than 500 people are also ordered to follow the new rule.
The New Orleans Saints will implement the new requirements, saying in a statement that the changes will allow for “full capacity” at the Caesars Superdome stadium.
“We must comply with those regulations to safely return to full capacity for the first time in more than a year and a half,” the team said Thursday. “We are committed to doing everything we can in the current environment to protect your health and safety while at the same time providing the best game day experience in the NFL.”
The Saints added that masks will also be required, in accordance with the state’s mandate that lasts until at least September 1.
“We understand some will be frustrated, as are we, that we find ourselves in this position. We, as a community, have overcome so much in our history and come back stronger every time,” the team said.