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New Orleans to require COVID vaccines or negative tests for bars, Superdome, other venues

Hospitalization records have been broken for 10 consecutive days to surpass April 2020 levels, but remain below the spring 2020 peak.

New Orleans residents and visitors must show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test to go inside restaurants, bars and other indoor venues, including the Caesars Superdome, Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced Thursday.

The citywide vaccine mandate will take effect Monday and enforcement will begin Aug. 23 when the Saints play their first home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The requirement covers anyone currently eligible for the vaccines. In addition to eating and drinking establishments and the Saints’ upcoming preseason games at the Superdome, the rule will be enforced at fitness centers, casinos, strip clubs and race tracks, as well as events at the Smoothie King Center.

It also covers outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people if the total attendance is greater than 50% of the venue’s capacity. Masks will continue to be required indoors.

Cantrell reinstated New Orleans’ mask mandate July 30, along with a requirement that municipal workers and contractors show proof of vaccination as a condition of employment. Since then, major upcoming events, including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, have been canceled or postponed

Louisiana set COVID-19 hospitalization records for 10 consecutive days on Wednesday, when there were 2,901 inpatients across the state. The New Orleans-area COVID-19 inpatient census was 592, the highest since April 2020 but still well below the spring 2020 peak.

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