Mask mandate returning inside NOLA businesses, schools

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 11:39 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 at 11:53 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A citywide mask mandate is returning in New Orleans.

The mandate will go into effect Wed., Jan. 12 at 6 a.m. in all public places, including both public and private schools.

  • Masks required indoors in restaurants, bars, fitness centers, entertainment venues, and other businesses.
  • Masks required in all healthcare facilities and public transportation, including airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, buses, taxis, ride-shares, and the corresponding transportation hubs.
  • Masks required in all K-12 education institutions.

The announcement comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, fueled by the super-contagious omicron variant.

“Health care systems and schools — the bedrock of any thriving community — are once again stretched to the brink by this pandemic, and right now, everyone in our community feels its impact,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, Director of the New Orleans Health Department. Throughout this pandemic, we’ve successfully implemented layered mitigation measures — masking, testing and vaccinations — to protect us through COVID-19 surges and minimize loss of health, life and business. As we go about our daily lives and anticipate welcoming large crowds to the City in the coming weeks, we must implement all of these measures to remain safe and healthy.”

On Tues., the Louisiana Department of Health reported over 12,000 new cases of COVID-19, following another record-breaking three-day total reported one day prior. Currently, just over 1,900 people are hospitalized with the virus, a sharp increase over the last few weeks. On Dec. 1, only 206 people were hospitalized, according to the LDH dashboard. Hospitals have shut down elective procedures and emergency departments are full.

City health officials say the reinstatement of the indoor mask mandate is to make sure Mardi Gras goes off without a hitch and in preparation for the inevitable surge following the festivities.


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After more than a week of rising omicron numbers, many people say they are not surprised.

On Magazine Street, music bars and restaurants that have not had to impose mask rules for more than two months will once again put mandates in place.

“I’m not surprised. In spite of vaccinations, a lot of people are getting sick, including myself,” said a man who identified himself as ‘Javier’ from New Orleans.

“I think it’s overdue, especially after the holiday spike. I’m surprised around Thanksgiving we weren’t required to wear masks indoors,” said Stacey Colangelo of New Orleans.

The New Orleans Health Department will also be distributing N95 masks. Distribution is scheduled to take place at the following locations Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., while supplies last:

  • Main Library, 219 Loyola Ave.
  • Algiers Regional Library, 3014 Holiday Drive
  • East New Orleans Regional Library, 5641 Read Blvd.
  • Milton H. Latter Memorial Library, 5120 St. Charles Ave.
  • Robert E. Smith Library, 6301 Canal Blvd.
  • Norman Mayer Library, 3001 Gentilly Blvd.
  • Hubbell Library, 725 Pelican Ave.

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