How Mardi Gras Adapted to COVID-19

Samantha Elkins, Multimedia Video Editor

On Feb. 16, Mardi Gras will begin without some of its famous and crowd-drawing events. When New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced New Orleans commencement into a modified stage two COVID-19 plan, she released Mardi Gras regulations as well to promote a healthy and safe environment amid the pandemic.

The plan states that through Feb. 12-16, all indoor and outdoor bars must remain closed, no establishments can sell drinks and no pedestrians or vehicles can walk on the neutral ground along North Claiborne Avenue.

From Feb. 12-15, the city has put curfews into place stating that pedestrians and cars cannot go on certain streets except for residents, hotel guests, restaurants and shoppers from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. The city plans to limit parking, only permit outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people and prohibit street performers or vendors of any kind who encourage large crowds. For small inside gatherings, 10 people act as the maximum capacity. Mask wearing and social distancing remains mandatory. 

Some COVID-19 friendly ways to celebrate Mardis Gras remain possible. The city plans to hold an event, “Floats in the Oaks,” which encourages people to go to City Park in their vehicles or bikes to watch the famous Mardi Gras floats. The floats normally parade through the streets surrounded by thousands of people cheering and celebrating. This year, vehicles can drive to Park City safely with vehicles limited to eight people. Bikers must wear a facial covering throughout the event and no pedestrians may attend. 

Throwing a party with family at home, dressing in Mardi Gras style, eating King Cake and wearing festive beaded necklaces can act as a way to safely celebrate. Mardi Gras, a legal holiday in Louisiana, celebrates a final day of feasting before observing the Christian holiday of Lent. Some celebrate by fasting or giving up certain things they love in order to prepare for Easter. The event occurs each year in either February or April and this year is Feb. 17- Apr. 3. People can use up any food and have one last festival before Lent begins.

While the state has no current restrictions or quarantine regulations for visitors flying into Lousianna, health officials encourage the utmost safety precautions during Mardi Gras to ensure the prevention of COVID-19. After Phase Two ends on Feb. 17, officials should make updates regarding the rules and regulations stated.