(UnitedVoice.com) – Every year, 1.4 million people descend on New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras. The COVID-19 pandemic ruined the festivities last year, but now they’re back — and city leaders couldn’t be happier about it.
In 2021, for the first time in 42 years, NOLA’s world-famous parades didn’t roll through the French Quarter. City officials decided to cancel the event, which brings with it wall-to-wall crowds, in order to keep people safe during the COVID-19 Delta surge. The impact on the city was devastating; businesses collectively lost the $1 billion usually brought in by the festivities.
As New Orleans historian and author, Arthur Hardy put it, “The main thing is we are going to celebrate. We need it for our pocketbooks and our souls. “
Although Mardi Gras is back, the rules for the events have changed. The New Orleans Department of Health put a number of mandates in place that will likely anger those who value their personal freedom.
As we kick-off Mardi Gras during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's more important than ever to follow our city's COVID guidelines throughout Carnival Season:
(2 of 2) pic.twitter.com/QyZHKNVStI
— New Orleans Health Department (@nolahealthdept) February 17, 2022
According to the new rules, everyone age 5 and older will have to provide proof of vaccination to enter some businesses. Masks are also being required at restaurants, bars, balls and other indoor events.
Despite the restrictions, the city is excited to host the event again. In January, Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) said, “We know Mardi Gras and our Carnival season is good for our soul.”
Copyright 2022, UnitedVoice.com