Businesses, residents prepared for New Orleans new citywide indoor mask advisory

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:01 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Enjoying a late lunch poboy, Laura Rivas says coming from Houston with mask requirements still in place, she says she was surprised at the lack of masks in New Orleans.

“It is what it is we have to get used to it and like I said for the sake of others and get through this pandemic,” said Rivas.

With the delta variant making itself known in New Orleans with growing case numbers and hospitalizations, Mayor Latoya Cantrell issues a new indoor mask advisory throughout the city regardless of vaccination status.

“This is the most immediate thing, most tangible thing that we can do to slow the spread. And if we do what is right, then we will stay on the path to seeing the benefits of us making the right choices, and those benefits within the city opening back up our tourist economy moving in the right direction, our businesses, again moving in the right direction,” said Cantrell.

New Orleans health department Dr. Jennifer Aveno says despite Orleans parish still leading the state in vaccination rates, the delta variant is pushing yet another spike in cases and putting people in hospitals at rates they haven’t seen since the spring.

“The overwhelming majority of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to be among people who are unvaccinated. In Louisiana, 97% of the severe covid cases, so a hospitalization or death are among unvaccinated individuals,” said Avegno.

“Whatever the city says we’re going to do ok first and foremost,” said Justin Kennedy.

Parkway Bakery’s Justin Kennedy says he’s breathing a sigh of relief the city is not requiring him to be the mask police again.

“I can’t control who’s wearing a mask who’s not wearing a mask but I can control if you want to feel safe if you want to feel safe and you want to come to parkway bakery I gotcha anyway you want to be,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy says throughout the pandemic, they’ve enhanced their outdoor seating and parking lot pickup system, inviting everyone to enjoy a sandwich in whatever way they feel safe.

“So if you don’t want to wear a mask you might want to not come in the restaurant you might want to stay outside,” said Kennedy.

“I think indoor masks should never have been eliminated so no problem out of me,” said Sade Wilmore.

This advisory differs from mask mandates in that the city won’t be enforcing it.

Cantrell says at this time, she’s not issuing more covid restrictions, though that’s still a possibility in the future.

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