It has been about a year since businesses began to close because of COVID-19 and people migrated to an online work and learning environment. However, the distribution of vaccines will hopefully give people the ability to host larger gatherings and attend in-person events. Approximately 30 percent of New Orleans's population has currently been vaccinated, and the New Orleans Health Department is raising the general gathering size limit as of Friday, April 2. In addition to the declining positivity rates, New Orleans is working really hard to let festival organizers host indoor and outdoor events while following COVID-19 regulations to keep attendees safe and healthy.
Event organizers will be required to present a model of the event, attendance limit, safety protocols, and an entertainment and event safety plan in their application. The event name, location, date, and attendance must be included, as well. The plan must conform to social distancing requirements and show all stage areas, tables and chairs, restrooms, hand sanitizing stations, entrances, exits, and other important physical features. Applications must be submitted at least two weeks before said event, and organizers may be responsible to answer event-specific questions or submit additional documents. Events that will not be allowed under any circumstances are block parties, second lines, parades, and dance clubs. There are also special guidelines for different types of essential and non-essential businesses.
Event capacity is based on number of exits, square footage, and the event activity. Outdoor and indoor events will be able to operate with 50 percent of normal capacity, but with a maximum of 150 and 75 participants for outdoor and indoor events respectively. While it seems like a lot of time and effort to put into hosting an event, the city is mandating this process in order to prevent the spread of the virus, while slowly readjusting to a pre-COVID lifestyle.
In order to be considered for an event, organizers must complete the required forms and submit them by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information related to special events, please visit nola.gov, and for updates and COVID-19 guidelines for the city of New Orleans, please visit ready.nola.gov. Organizers can also call 504-658-7200 for any questions or concerns.