City Announces Modified Phase OneJanuary 6, 2020City Announces Modified Phase One as COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations Reach a Dangerous Rate in Orleans ParishDue to COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations reaching a statewide record high, the City of New Orleans today announced a Modified Phase One, with reduced capacity limits and gathering restrictions, which will go into effect Friday, January 8 at 6 am and will last for three weeks.“With vaccines coming but our COVID-19 numbers rising, these next few weeks will be a defining moment in the history of our response to this pandemic. That's why we need everyone in our community to take this change in COVID-19 restrictions very seriously. We are in a precarious situation, one that will not get better unless we have everyone on board,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “These restrictions are for the short term, but they are in place for a reason. We must work together as a collective force to once again flatten the curve and bring our cases under control. I know we can do this, and I believe in our people to get it done.”“Each and every measure we have been watching closely is indicating a major community outbreak in New Orleans,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, Director of the New Orleans Health Department. “We need everyone’s cooperation to slow the spread and save lives immediately. If you can work from home, work from home. If you have a playdate, dinner party, sleepover, barbeque, visit to a relative or other gathering scheduled, please cancel it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines underway in Louisiana, but vaccines only work for those who are alive to receive them.”The percent of positive tests, which was just over 5% for the last two weeks, forcing bars to close indoors, has now skyrocketed to over 10% in just one week. Average daily cases have increased exponentially from roughly 30 throughout most of the fall months to now over 200. Hospitalizations reached an all-time record yesterday statewide, with more COVID patients admitted than in April of last year. For these reasons, it is necessary to take immediate action to slow the spread of COVID-19 in all sectors.What This MeansThe Modified Phase One will begin in Orleans Parish at 6 am on Friday, January 8, with the following major changes:Gatherings and special events will not be allowed except for people who live together in a single household.All indoor activities will be reduced to 25% of permitted occupancy.Indoor and outdoor sporting events will be reduced to 4% of permitted occupancy.Tables – at restaurants, or outdoor seating at bars or breweries – will be limited to 6 people and everyone must be from the same household.In addition to the above Modified Phase One changes, it is advised to continue:Everyone must wear a mask or face covering when performing activities in public.Practice social distancing, wash hands often, and frequently disinfect surfaces.For a full list of current guidelines please visit the website here.Modified Phase One of Safe ReopeningIn addition to these further restrictions the City of New Orleans has announced the extension of the Parklet Pilot program which promotes outdoor drinking and dining options for residents as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the start of the occupancy restrictions, the City has waived fees and expanded Outdoor Dining options for restaurants and bars. The application fee will be waived until March 31, 2021. The City is providing water-filled barricades to parklet applicants on a first come, first served basis. Grants up to $2,000 towards parklet expenses (including heaters for these colder months) are available through a partnership between the City and NOLABA. There are currently 40 grants available. The second round of grants began Monday, Nov. 2. The design guidelines, the permit application, and the grant information can all be found at nola.gov/parklet.