As of January 8, 2021, New Orleans is currently in a Modified Phase One of the phased re-opening plan.

The importance of following the city and statewide rules during this time cannot be overstated. Wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory statewide when out in public. The mask mandate exists not only to keep you safe but to make sure our local hospitality workers are safe, as well. If you are in need of a mask or face covering, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite local spots to buy masks here, or you can check out Sew Dat, which provides free masks for essential workers.

Currently, there are no travel restrictions or quarantine requirements for travelers or individuals entering the state of Louisiana.

What is Modified Phase One?

The city of New Orleans is following a multi-phase approach to safely reopening public spaces during the pandemic. Mayor LaToya Cantrell has made the decision to revert to a Modified Phase One due to an increased COIVD-19 positivity rate. Modified Phase One began on January 8 and will last for three weeks.

These modified restrictions ensure a healthy and safe environment for both locals and visitors to the city of New Orleans. 

A few important  highlights  from Modified Phase One to keep in mind: 

  • Every person  must  wear a mask or face covering while in public, except during personal outdoor recreation.  

  • Gatherings of any size outside of your household, whether indoor or outdoor, are not permitted at this time.  
  • Restaurants and bars can sell alcohol (including to-go drinks) between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. Alcohol sales at restaurants must be accompanied by food sales. Bars may not allow indoor seating; outdoor seating, drive thru, takeout, and curbside pickup service is allowed.
  • Conference venues and meeting rooms are  limited to 25% capacity.

  • Indoor live entertainment will be allowed with a Special Event Permit in restaurants, indoor event venues and concert halls. Singing, karaoke, and wind-blown instruments are prohibited indoors. 

  • Individuals must continue to practice social distancing and wash hands often.  

  • Seniors and people with serious medical conditions should continue to stay home, as well as anyone who is feeling sick or showing symptoms of Covid-19. 

What Types of Businesses Are Open During Modified Phase One?

  • Retail stores and shopping malls  - 25% capacity

  • Restaurants and cafés, as well as bars with a state AR-Conditional permits (with reservations strongly encouraged) - 25% capacity indoors, with tables spaced six feet apart. Additionally, all parties seated at the same table must be from the same household. No seating at the restaurant bar. Patrons must wear masks unless actively eating or drinking. Outdoor dining is allowed at full capacity as long as social distancing measures are in place. All restaurants and event venues are required to end the sale of alcohol at 11 p.m., in accordance with the guidelines established by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
  • Bars and breweries - no indoor seating is allowed. Outdoor seating is allowed with a maximum of 50 people seated at tables socially distance. Bars and breweries may continue to serve guests through drive thru, takeout, and curbside pickup.
  • Beauty salons, barbershops, and nail salons (by appointment only)  - 25% capacity
  • Tattoo, massage, and  esthetician  services (by appointment only) - 25% capacity

  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums (by reservation only and with no tactile exhibits)  - 25% capacity

  • Gyms and fitness centers, including group fitness classes - 25% capacity 

  • Libraries  - 25% capacity 

  • Community centers - 25% capacity

  • Casinos, race tracks, and video poker establishments - 25% capacity

  • Houses of worship - 25% capacity 

  • Movie theaters - 25% capacity 

  • Conference venues and meeting rooms - 25% capacity 

  • Swimming pools - one person for every 60 square feet of available deck space within the aquatic venue

  • Walking, bike, and vehicular tours - Walking and Biking Tours shall be allowed to operate with no more than six members of a single household and each tour group must maintain 30 feet between groups. Bus Tours shall be allowed to operate at 25% capacity

  • Event venues - Event Venues can only hold events where all individuals are part of one single household

  • Outdoor stadiums and large arenas - 4% standing capacity

Outdoor recreation spaces, including parks, playgrounds, and sports complexes,  continue  to operate  following social distancing guidelines.

Indoor live entertainment will be allowed with a Special Event Permit in restaurants, indoor event venues and concert halls. Singing, karaoke and wind-blown instruments are prohibited indoors.

Outdoor live music is permitted, as long as all attendees are from the same household and the venue follows guidelines from the state fire marshal. Organizers must also first obtain a special event permit. See here for more information. 

What Types of Businesses Are Closed During Modified Phase One?

The following operations  and activities  remain closed or prohibited:  

  • Amusement parks 

  • Fairs and festivals 

  • Arcades 

  • Indoor playgrounds and play centers 

  • Second lines and parades 

  • Dance clubs

  • Concert Halls 

What Can I Expect While Dining in a Restaurant? 

While planning to dine in at a New Orleans restaurant, it’s encouraged that you make a reservation in advance. Indoor seating is limited to  25% of the restaurant’s permitted occupancy or 100% outdoors with social distancing. All parties must come from the same household.

As for the dining experience, expect strict health measures to be taken on behalf of the business to keep you  and the staff  safe. This includes staggering reservations, spacing out tables more than six feet apart, and wearing masks while cooking and serving food. You can do your part by wearing your mask or face covering until you get to your designated table and begin eating or drinking. 

Do I Need to Wear a Mask at All Times? 

As part of both the state- and citywide mask mandate, it is required that individuals wear a mask or face covering at all times while in public, unless you are exercising or seated at a table in a restaurant. This rule does not apply to children under two years old and anyone who has trouble breathing. 

Do I Need a Reservation to Visit an Attraction or Restaurant? 

For dining in restaurants within Orleans Parish, a reservation is strongly recommended. If you don’t have a reservation and are planning on dining in a restaurant or visiting a bar, whether outdoor or indoor, be prepared to provide contact information (name and phone number) for contact tracing purposes.   

As for visits to museums, zoos, aquariums, and other indoor cultural attractions, admission will be staggered using an online reservation system. Call or visit the attraction’s website to book your reservation in advance.  

What Safety Precautions are Attractions Taking? 

All businesses and institutions must register with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal to receive sector-specific guidelines for reopening and a certificate of Acknowledgement of Registration, which will be posted and visible on all entrances. This certificate is a physical reminder to visitors that these businesses are following all government guidelines for increased sanitation and safety practices, including personal protective equipment for employees and detailed cleaning protocols.

What About Public Gatherings?

At this point, public gatherings are only permitted when all attendees are members of the same household. 

How Long Will Modified Phase One Last?

Modified Phase One began on January 8 and will last for at least three weeks.