Effective June 13, 2020, New Orleans entered into Phase Two of the city’s reopening plan. Phase Two eases restrictions set about during our four weeks in Phase One on some medium-risk operations, while continuing to limit occupancy, implement social distancing measures, and require personal protective equipment.
The importance of following the citywide rules during this time cannot be overstated. Wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory in the city of New Orleans when out in public. The mask mandate exists to not only 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, check out Sew Dat, which provides free masks for essential workers and links off to more information on where to purchase a mask of your own.
What is Phase Two?
Phase Two: Safer at Home follows Phase One: Safest at Home and is the second phase following The City of New Orleans' Stay-At-Home mandate. Phases for a safe reopening are closely aligned with those set by the State of Louisiana and the White House. It begins June 13 at 6 a.m.
A few important highlights from Phase Two to keep in mind:
- Every person must wear a mask or face covering while in public, unless you are performing outdoor recreation.
- Gatherings are limited to 100 people with one safety control officer provided per 50 people per State Fire Marshal guidelines, even in outdoor parks and spaces.
- Conference venues and meeting rooms are limited to 50% capacity or 250 people, whichever is fewer
- Individuals must continue to practice social distancing, wash hands often, and frequently disinfect surfaces.
- Seniors and people with serious medical conditions should continue to stay home, as well as anyone who is feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19.
What Types of Businesses Are Open During Phase Two?
Low-risk operations will be allowed to move to 50% capacity, including the following:
- Retail stores and shopping malls
- Restaurants, cafés, and bars and breweries with LDH food permits (with reservations at restaurants strongly encouraged)
- Beauty salons, barber shops, and nail salons (by appointment only)
- Tattoo, massage, and esthetician services (by appointment only)
- Museums, zoos, and aquariums (by reservation only and with no tactile exhibits)
- Gyms and fitness centers, including group fitness classes
- Community centers
Outdoor recreation spaces, including parks, playgrounds, and sports complexes, continue to operate following social distancing guidelines.
Outdoor live music is permitted, so long as the gathering is limited to 100 people with one safety officer per 50 people and organizers must first obtain a special event permit.
Some operations will be allowed to operate with additional capacity limits, including the following:
- Houses of worship (limited to 50% capacity or 250 people, whichever is fewer)
- Movie theaters (limited to 50% capacity or 250 people, whichever is fewer)
- Conference venues and meeting rooms (limited to 50% capacity or 250 people, whichever is fewer)
- Bars and breweries without an LDH food permit (occupancy limited to 25% capacity and by reservation only)
- Casinos, racetracks, and video poker establishments (occupancy limited to 25% capacity with 50% of gaming tables open)
- Outdoor pools
- Walking and bus tours (limited to 10 people or fewer)
What Types of Businesses Are Closed During Phase Two?
The following operations and activities remain closed or prohibited during Phase Two:
- Amusement parks
- Music/concert halls
- Fairs and festivals
- Trade shows
- Indoor playgrounds and play centers
- Indoor live performance venues
- Second lines and parades
- Cruise ships
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, especially since indoor seating is limited to 50% of the restaurant’s permitted occupancy, but also for contact tracing purposes. Outdoor seating is allowed while practicing social distancing.
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.
Do I Need to Wear a Mask at All Times?
It is highly recommended that a mask or face covering is worn at all times while in public, unless you are exercising or seated at a table in a restaurant. While this will not be enforced by police, a business does have the right to refuse service for patrons not adhering to this rule.
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?
According to city government, gatherings are limited 100 people or fewer, both private and public. One safety control officer will be provided per 50 people per State Fire Marshal guidelines, even in outdoor parks and spaces. Gatherings not at a permitted special event venue must obtain a special event permit from the city.
How Long Will Phase Two Last?
In Orleans Parish, there is no official end date for Phase Two. The number of cases, hospitalizations, and public health capacity over the next few weeks will determine whether or not and at what time we can enter Phase Three. This will be evaluated on July 3, 2020 after three weeks spent in Phase Two.
For a look at what restaurants, attractions, and businesses are open in New Orleans, see here. For more information on what’s open and in what capacity, and for the full Phase Two reopening plan, see ready.nola.gov.