Mardi Gras is Back in 2022, But You Need to Take Steps to Stay Safe
Locals and visitors alike are excited about Mardi Gras’s return in 2022. After Mardi Gras 2020 was cited as a super spreader in the early days of COVID, and Mardi Gras 2021 was canceled due to the dangers of the Delta Variant, Carnival season has taken some bumps and bruises.
For those planning to attend, Mardi Gras may look a little different this year, but it will feel the same.
What Can Visitors Expect During Mardi Gras 2022?
Mardi Gras 2022 rules for sharing Carnival season with COVID-19 are as follows:
- Masks are not just for the Mardi Gras balls this year. Reinstated mask mandates require facial coverings in all indoor spaces. Throw a little purple, gold, and green on your disposable surgical masks or bedazzle your KN95s with a theme. No, lifting your shirt over your mouth will not do.
- Bars, restaurants, and live entertainment venues are all open and at full capacity. Make sure to include a balcony or grandstand on your to do list. There’s no greater feeling in a COVID world than to be perched above the crowds with a more intimate crowd.
- Be prepared for a stick or a swab. All of New Orleans is requiring proof of vaccination for five years and up or a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test within 72 hours of entry. Proof of vaccination must be the official card. A save the date or permission slip will not give attendees access to any event, not even to catch the Krewe of Muses shoe.
Krewes, the members-only secretive and not so secretive societies of Louisiana, are the very reason for parades.
How Does Governor John Bel Edwards Limited Liability Protections Affect Mardi Gras 2022?
Throughout the country, states have been bracing for a wave of COVID-19 related lawsuits. Some states have signed bills that limit the liability of organizations, government entities, and other businesses to shield them from an onslaught of covid-related liability claims.
Governor John Bel Edwards signed Act # 336, or Louisiana’s Limited Liability Law, in 2020.
Mardi Gras 2020 became a prime example of how fast COVID-19 can spread. A new study examined the chain of events and natural movement of the virus that led to a surge of COVID-19 cases in Louisiana:
- Outbreaks of the virus in New York and Washington DC can be traced to European and Asian travelers
- In contrast, outbreaks in Louisiana can be traced back to domestic travel, mainly a single dominant event
- Researchers believe COVID-19 already existed in Louisiana prior to Mardi Gras 2020; however, without any restrictions the Carnival became a super-spreader event
New Orleans officials are taking note of that year’s Mardi Gras and ensuring the safety of residents and visitors with reasonable restrictions.
For Mardi Gras 2022, businesses and organizations can feel at ease and enjoy the festival like old times. The limited liability legislation protects businesses and organizations from liability suits provided they meet the following conditions:
- Companies must be in substantial compliance with COVID-19 state, federal, and local procedures
For example, when walking into a restaurant during Mardi Gras, people can expect to be wearing a mask and asked to show proof of vaccination.
If the restaurant accepts a calendar entry on a cell phone for vaccination proof and employees are wearing their masks underneath their chin, the establishment is non-compliant and can be exposed to COVID-19 related lawsuits.
How Are Other Major Events Responding to the Omicron Variant?
Major events over the world are implementing their own unique strategies for keeping citizens and visitors safe:
- Carnival, Rio de Janeiro:
In Brazil, officials have delayed Carnival due to rising omicron cases. Carnival is usually celebrated in February in the five days before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras and Brazil’s Carnival are the same celebration but with different traditions. Both events host huge, lavish parties full of food, alcohol, music, and fun. New Orleans carnival season and Mardi Gras are infused with unique French flair.
This year, Carnival festivities in Brazil will take place in late April.
- Winter Olympics, Beijing:
The Winter Olympics in Beijing has already made history. For the first time, a city has hosted both the summer and winter games. This year’s Winter Olympics provides unique challenges, and China has responded with unique solutions.
The Chinese government has built whole villages to host competitors, officials, and service personnel. They have ramped up transport and testing services moving between the sites.
The Chinese government has also severely restricted spectators. Winter Olympic tickets will never go on sale. Only a select few will be given invitations. Supporters from foreign nations are not permitted.
- Coachella, Coachella Valley Southern California:
After two years of cancellations, the Coachella festival is back on. Since its inception, the giant music festival has become a cultural icon (thank you Pearl Jam for that little spat with Ticketmaster). Now a blend of popular and indie music, crowds can once again flock to Southern California in their whimsical bohemian outfits to hear Billie Eilish, Princess Nokia, Purple Disco Machine and Logic 100, and more.
Coachella’s COVID-19 precautions involve proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of the event.
While more precautions could be implemented before the event takes place, as of the writing of this piece, the Coachella website has a COVID-19 warning That the virus can lead to “severe illness and death.”
Treat COVID-19 with Respect and Have Fun
Attending large-scale festivals during a pandemic is like taking your already alcohol-impaired friend to a theme park. You are aware of your friend’s shortcomings and risks and are taking the proper precautions before every ride to avoid sickness. The Ferris wheel and carousel may be safe but perhaps avoid the tilt a whirl.
Mardi Gras 2022 will be amazing. New Orleans welcomes anyone wanting to attend the biggest free party in the world.