Effective July 13, 2020, the City of New Orleans, in conjunction with the state of Louisiana, is introducing a few new safety guidelines as part of Phase Two of the city’s reopening plan. As a reminder, 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 both the city of New Orleans, as well as in the entire state of Louisiana, 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, 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.

What is Phase Two?

Phase Two: Safer at Home is the second phase following the City of New Orleans' Phase One Stay-At-Home mandate. Phases for a safe reopening are closely aligned with those set by the State of Louisiana and the White House. 

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.  

  • Indoor gatherings are limited to 25 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower; outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people, even in outdoor parks and spaces. This includes weddings and funerals.

  • 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? 

  • Retail stores and shopping malls   

  • Restaurants and cafés (with reservations at restaurants strongly encouraged)  

  • Beauty salons, barbershops, 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 

  • Libraries  

  • 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 50 people with one safety officer, and organizers must first obtain a special event permit.

The following types of businesses will be operating under additional capacity limits and restrictions effective July 13, 2020:  

  • Restaurants – 50% capacity indoors, 100% capacity outdoors. No seating at the restaurant bar. Patrons must wear masks unless actively eating or drinking.

  • Bars and breweries, including those with Louisiana Department of Health food permits – open only for takeout with no on-site consumption allowed. Drinks may be taken to go, but congregating or loitering outside of bars is prohibited.

  • Casinos, racetracks, and video poker establishments – 25% capacity with 50% of gaming tables open

  • Houses of worship – 50% capacity or 250 people, whichever is fewer  

  • Movie theaters – 50% capacity or 250 people, whichever is fewer

  • Conference venues and meeting rooms – 50% capacity or 250 people, whichever is fewer 

  • Outdoor pools – 25% capacity based on deck size

  • Walking and bike tours – limited to 14 people or fewer (vehicle tours are prohibited at this time)

  • Event venues – 50% capacity or 25 people, whichever is 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 

  • Arcades 

  • 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 and begin eating or drinking. 

Do I Need to Wear a Mask at All Times? 

Yes. 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. 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, outdoor gatherings are limited  to 50 people, and indoor gatherings to 25. One safety control officer should 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. 

NOLA Ready Resources

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  • New Orleans Updates (Effective 7/13)
  • NOLA Ready Additional Capacity Restrictions (effective 7/13)