On February 19, 2021, New Orleans entered into a Modified Phase Two of its reopening 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 Two?
The city of New Orleans is following a multi-phase approach to safely reopening public spaces during the pandemic.These Modified Phase Two guidelines will begin on February 26.
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 Two 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 75 people, and outdoor to 150 people with masks and social distancing required.
- Restaurants and bars can sell alcohol between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. (including to-go drinks). Alcohol sales at restaurants must be accompanied by food sales. Bars may open at 25% capacity indoors or 100% for outdoor seating (or up to 50 individuals 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.
- Indoor live entertainment will be allowed with a Special Event Permit in restaurants, indoor event venues, and concert halls.
- 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 Two?
Retail stores and shopping malls - 50% capacity
- Restaurants and cafés, as well as bars with a state AR-Conditional permit (with reservations strongly encouraged) - 50% 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 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 - 25% capacity indoors; outdoor seating is allowed at 100% (or a maximum of 50 people seated at tables socially distance, 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) - 50% capacity
Tattoo, massage, and esthetician services (by appointment only) - 50% capacity
Museums, zoos, and aquariums (by reservation only and with no tactile exhibits) - 50% capacity
Gyms and fitness centers, including group fitness classes - 50% capacity
Libraries - 50% capacity
Community centers - 50% capacity
Casinos, race tracks, and video poker establishments - 50% capacity
Houses of worship - 50% capacity
Movie theaters - 50% capacity
Conference venues and meeting rooms - 50% 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 10 people and each tour group must maintain 50 feet between groups. Bus Tours shall be allowed to operate at 50% capacity
Event venues - Event venues, reception halls and hotel ballrooms shall be allowed to host gatherings, weddings and private parties for up to 10 individuals indoors and 25 outdoors
Indoor stadiums may open at up to 15% capacity, and outdoor stadiums may open at up to 25% capacity. Social distancing and masking guidelines remain the same in these settings.
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.
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 Two?
The following operations and activities remain closed or prohibited:
Fairs and festivals
Indoor playgrounds and play centers
Second lines and parades
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 50% 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 75 people indoors and up to 150 people outdoors with masks and social distancing required.
How Long Will Modified Phase Two Last?
These Modified Phase Two guidelines begin on February 19 and will last for at least three weeks.