New Orleans joins NYC, LA and San Francisco with vaccine mandate

New Orleans joins New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in bringing in vaccine passports for indoor venues – but will also allow a negative test as each city makes up different rules

  • Mayor LaToya Cantrell says proof of full vaccination or a negative test result will be required to enter restaurants, Superdome and all other indoor facilities
  • Policy will take effect on Aug. 16, with full enforcement starting a week later 
  • New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco issue their own different rules, with different start dates yet no clear blueprint for enforcement
  • Once again, Mayor Cantrell has asked for feedback then proceeded to ignore it,’ says Louisiana Restaurant Association after expressing concern over mandate 
  • Louisiana and southern states continue to battle Delta variant while having some of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates 

New Orleans has became the latest city to bring in a vaccine mandate for customers at indoor entertainment venues, joining New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced that people needed to provide proof of vaccination to enter bars, restaurants, music halls, the Superdome, casinos and other indoor facilities. 

But in a break from the other cities, New Orleans will also allow customers to present a recent negative COVID-19 test.

‘Look for your vaccination card and be prepared to show it,’ said Cantrell during a news conference on Thursday, adding that the policy would take effect on Monday, with a one-week grace period before aggressive enforcement begins on August 23.

CDC data shows that 60.3% of the New Orleans population have had at least one dose of vaccine, with 52.7% fully vaccinated – one of the highest rates in Louisiana. 

While New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco have recently issued similar mandates, every city has different requirements and conditions – and none of them have given a clear indication on how the mandates will be enforced.  

New York and LA require residents have at least one shot before entering indoor restaurants, gyms and entertainment businesses

But LA takes it one step further and includes ‘retail establishments’.

San Francisco’s mandate is even stricter, and insists on full vaccination – not just one dose – for customers and employees at restaurants, gyms and other indoor venues.  

Vaccination mandates hit the Big Easy on Aug. 16 for employees and customers of all indoor facilities, including bars, restaurants, the Superdome and casinos

Mayor LaToya Cantrell said that residents have a one-week grace period before full enforcement of the mandate takes effect on Aug. 23

Where you’ll need to have your shot to go out for dinner: COVID vaccine mandates in major U.S. cities 

New York

  • Where it affects: Restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and other entertainment establishments
  • Who does it affect?: Customers and employees
  • Full or partial vaccination?: At least one dose
  • When does it begin?: August 16, enforcement delayed until September 13

Los Angeles

  • Where it affects: Restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, all other entertainment venues – plus retail establishments
  • Who does it affect?: Customers and employees
  • Full or partial vaccination?: At least one dose
  • When does it begin?: City council has yet to present full legislation

San Francisco

  • Where it affects: Restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and other entertainment establishments
  • Who does it affect?: Customers and employees
  • Full or partial vaccination?: Proof of full vaccination required
  • When does it begin?: August 20. Employees have until October 13 to show proof of full vaccination.

New Orleans 

  • Where it affects: Restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, Superdome and other indoor events
  • Who does it affect?: Customers and employees
  • Full or partial vaccination?: Proof of vaccination OR a recent negative Covid test required
  • When does it begin?: August 16, enforcement delayed until August 23

New Orleans has already had a mask mandate in place since July 30, with many restaurant, bars and coffee shops implementing their own requirements that patrons show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, the New York Post reports. 

Stan Harris, president and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, said in a statement that while he supports businesses’ freedom to enact their own rules, he disagrees with Cantrell’s decision to implement the city-wide mandate. 

‘There has been no data provided that validates the effectiveness of this mandate,’ Harris said. 

‘Further, our smaller restaurants, those with self- service, walk up or seated counters lack the staff during regular operations to manage this verification easily. 

‘Once again, Mayor Cantrell has asked for feedback then proceeded to ignore it.’ 

The New Orleans Saints released a statement to make fans aware of the new mandate, saying the team’s top priority remains the health and safety of everyone at the Superdome. 

‘We understand some will be frustrated, as are we, that we find ourselves in this position,’ the team wrote on Twitter. ‘Together, we can defeat this virus and return to living, celebrating and winning in the way we always have. We need you in that number — both on game day and in defeating this virus.’ 

New Orleans had previously required city workers and contractors to get vaccinated.  

Leaders in Democrat-led states and cities have moved swiftly to impose COVID-19 mask and vaccine requirements in the face of the Delta variant.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced last week that New York will be the first major city in the United States to require that indoor diners, theatergoers and gym members show proof of vaccination if they want to receive service.

The mandate comes in on August 16, with enforcement delayed until September 13th.

Los Angeles city council took a step towards a mandate on Thursday, with a unanimous 13-to-0 vote directing its city attorney to draft legislation, and work out the policy’s precise details, such as enforcement and where exactly it would apply.

Specifics have not been finalized, and the council called on city employees to meet with business leaders to come up with a plan.

San Francisco’s mandate launches on August 20, but as they are calling for full vaccination employees will have until October 13 to show they have had their shots.

Mayor London Breed said in a statement Thursday: ‘Vaccines are our way out of the pandemic, and our way back to a life where we can be together safely.’

The number of daily cases across the country has doubled in the last two weeks, according to a Reuters tally, reaching a six-month peak, while the average number of daily deaths has increased 85% in the last 14 days. 

The worst of the outbreaks are concentrated in the South, including Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, where intensive care units have been stretched to capacity.

Louisiana saw about 5,268 new cases confirmed on Thursday, with the state reporting 54 deaths. 

Louisiana has the fourth-lowest vaccination rate in the country. Pictured is Nicole Burton receiving a COVID-19 shot at the DePaul Community Health Center on Aug. 12

Louisiana has the fourth-lowest percentage of fully vaccinated residents in the country, at only 37.8%. Only Wyoming, Mississippi and Alabama have lower rates. 

The new Delta strain appears to be flattening the pace of the U.S. economic recovery after a big upswing in the first half of 2021, according to Oxford Economics U.S. Recovery Tracker. 

‘Sharply deteriorating health conditions are the main reason why the South´s recovery is now losing momentum,’ Oxford’s lead U.S. economist Oren Klachkin said.

‘And the rapid uptick in COVID cases in the region is causing activity to moderate and mobility and employment to stagnate.’  

Despite the uptick, some states continue to fight mandates for masks and vaccines. 

While flouting federal recommendations on masks, Florida has asked Washington to help by sending ventilators.

‘Our frontline health care heroes are finding themselves stretched thin and physical and mental exhaustion is taking its toll,’ Florida Hospital Association President Mary Mayhew said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that people in their 20s and 30s were being hospitalized with the virus.

New Orleans had put a mask mandate in place for all indoor venues on July 30

Residents will need to show full proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result if they want to enter bars and restaurants, like the one pictured here on Bourbon Street 

Meanwhile, California, Illinois, Kentucky and New Jersey, all led by Democratic governors, have required masks in all schools.

Jot Condie president and CEO of the California Restaurant Association said: ‘If asking patrons for proof of vaccination in indoor public spaces can help us all avoid more shutdowns, massive layoffs and operating limits, then we will do everything we reasonably can to assist,’ the Los Angeles Times reported.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770, the union representing more than 30,000 workers in the state, including grocery store employees, also welcomed the measure, the outlet reported, but called on the council to include provisions in the ordinance to provide for a trained ‘health and safety’ enforcement officer for retail locations.

‘It is impossible for retail workers to maintain the store inside and enforce the vaccine requirement outside,’ union President John M. Grant wrote in a letter to the council, according to the LA Times.

LA joins New York City where Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday that customers and workers will have to show proof that they’ve had at least one dose of a vaccine

Detractors, blasted the proposal as overreaching and a form of segregation.   

Meanwhile, there’s no data to even determine how many restaurant and catering workers have their vaccines. They’ll also be required to have their shots, according most vaccine mandate.

A spokesperson for the New York City Hospitality Alliance said there is no data on what percentage of hospitality workers are vaccinated. The city’s Health Department also doesn’t keep track.

The news on the vaccination requirement for customers was met with mixed reaction from restaurant owners and managers, who say that while they are hopeful this will spur more people o get vaccinated.

It could also pose problems for those trying to enforce the measure.

‘If you ask the customer for proof that they had the vaccine, then you’re going to have a lot of problems,’ Jose Amigon, 56, the general manager of Paul’s Da Burger Joint in New York’s East Village, told

‘People get mad, angry, upset.’

Jose Amigon, 56, the general manager of Paul’s Da Burger Joint in the East Village, says requiring customers be vaccinated will cause problems

Two of the nation’s largest teachers’ unions have also come in support of vaccine mandates. 

Late Wednesday night, the executive council for the American Federation of Teachers unanimously adopted a resolution encouraging its members to discuss vaccine mandates with their employers.

Then on Thursday, Becky Pringle, the president of the National Education Association, released a statement saying the organization is now encouraging teachers across the country to get vaccinated.

‘As we enter a new school year amidst a rapidly-spreading Delta variant and lagging public vaccination rates, it is clear that the vaccination of those eligible is one of the most effective ways to keep schools safe, and they must be coupled with other proven mitigation strategies,’ Pringle said.

The NEA will also support regular COVID testing in lieu of vaccination ‘for those not yet vaccinated or those for whom vaccination is not medically appropriate or effective.’

But the AFT fell short of fully endorsing vaccine mandates.

‘We believe that workplace policies should be done with working people, not to them,’ President Randi Weingarten said in a statement to Politico on Thursday.

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