On March 12, 2021, New Orleans entered into a Modified Phase Three of its reopening plan. On Friday, April 9, 2021, new guidelines that extend the hours of alcohol sales for bars, restaurants, event venues, breweries and packaged liquor went​ into effect. See below for more details on those guidelines.

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 Three?

The city of New Orleans is following a multi-phase approach to safely reopening public spaces during the pandemic.These Modified Phase Three guidelines began on March 12. Updates were made to the guidelines and are reflected below.

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 Three to keep in mind: 

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

  • Indoor gatherings are limited to 150 people, and outdoor to 250 people with masks and social distancing required.
  • Restaurants, bars, breweries and event venues can serve alcohol between the hours of 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. (including to-go drinks). Packaged liquor sales in the French Quarter and CBD are limited to the hours of 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. Bars may open at 50% capacity indoors or 100% for outdoor seating (or up to 250 seated patrons outdoors, whichever is fewer); outdoor seating, drive-thru, takeout, and curbside pickup service is also allowed.
  • Conference venues and meeting rooms are  limited to 50% capacity.
  • At restaurants, bars, breweries, libraries, offices, and other businesses, no more than 15 individuals may be seated at a table.
  • Live entertainment may be performed at bars, restaurants, concert halls, music halls, and performance and event venues with a special event permit. They must also follow the capacity limits based on the business type. Additional safety guidelines, including proper ventilation, must also be in place. 
  • 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 Three?

  • Retail stores and shopping malls  - 75% capacity

  • Restaurants and cafés, as well as bars with a state AR-Conditional permit (with reservations strongly encouraged) - 75% capacity indoors, with tables spaced six feet apart. 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 to follow the above guidance for alcohol sales.  
  • Bars and breweries - 50% capacity indoors; outdoor seating is allowed at 100% (or a maximum of 250 seated patrons, whichever is fewer). Bars and breweries may continue to serve guests through drive-thru, takeout, and curbside pickup.
  • Beauty salons, barbershops, and nail salons (by appointment only)  - 75% capacity
  • Tattoo, massage, and  esthetician  services (by appointment only) - 75% capacity

  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums (by reservation only and with no tactile exhibits)  - 75% capacity

  • Gyms and fitness centers, including group fitness classes - 50% capacity 

  • Libraries  - 75% capacity 

  • Community centers - 75% capacity

  • Casinos, race tracks, and video poker establishments - 50% capacity

  • Houses of worship - 75% capacity 

  • Movie theaters - 75% capacity 

  • Conference venues and meeting rooms - 50% capacity 

  • Swimming pools - one person for every 45 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 21 individuals and each tour group must maintain 50 feet between groups. Bus Tours shall be allowed to operate at 75% capacity

  • Event venues - Event venues, reception halls and hotel ballrooms shall be allowed to host gatherings, weddings and private parties for up to 150 individuals indoors and 250 outdoors with masks and social distancing

  • Indoor stadiums may open at up to 25% capacity, and outdoor stadiums may open at up to 50% capacity. Social distancing and masking guidelines remain the same in these settings.

  • Outdoor events, amusement parks, fairs and festivals - 50% capacity (cap of 150 patrons), with special event permit, and following the State Fire Marshal guidelines

  • Pool Halls, Bowling Alleys, Skating Rinks, Trampoline Parks, Children’s Indoor Play Centers, Indoor Playgrounds and Arcades – 50% capacity (maximum of 250 patrons) with approval from the State Fire Marshal

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 bars, restaurants, indoor event venues and concert halls. 

Outdoor live music is permitted, as long as 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 Three?

The following operations  and activities  remain closed or prohibited:  

  • Second lines and parades 

  • Dance clubs

  • Block parties

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  75% of the restaurant’s permitted occupancy or 100% outdoors with 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 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?

Gatherings may be held with up to 150 people indoors and up to 250 people outdoors with masks and social distancing required.  

How Long Will Modified Phase Three Last?

Modified Phase Three began on March 12 and will last indefinitely.