With no Carnival parades rolling in 2021, businesses prepare for impacts

Updated: Nov. 17, 2020 at 10:12 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - If we’ve learned anything this year it is that we’ve had to learn to adapt to a lot of changes. And it hasn’t been easy and for many it has been heartbreaking.

Many business owners say the latest changes in the City of New Orleans only add to their frustration.

What does New Orleans look like without Mardi Gras parades?

With less than 50 days until the start of Carnival season, very soon we’ll find out.

“We’re still going to promote Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras will go on. In 2021, it will just look a little bit different,” says Kelly Shultz with New Orleans and Company.

Shultz says parades or no parades, the city still has a lot to offer visitors during Carnival time.

“We know that there is a lot of love for New Orleans out there. When it comes to visitors, I think there’s a lot of pent up demand for travel overall,” says Shultz.

And she says the city should be upfront with visitors on what the Carnival season will look like.

“We know that visitors are wanting to come back to the city and they can do now in ways that are safe.”

What will be offered for those visiting in still on the table.

For businesses along the parade routes, they’re wondering the same thing. What will Mardi Gras look like?

“There’s a part of you that always hopes that they’ll figure it out and make something happen, but I wasn’t really surprised,” says Polly Watts, owner of the Avenue Pub.

The Avenue Pub sits right on St. Charles Avenue along the Uptown parade route so it sees a lot of action during Carnival season.

While this upcoming Carnival season will just be another devastating blow to business, she understands the move to cancel parades.

“It’s impossible to be a bar on the parade route and not see the common sense behind the mayor and the health department’s decision,” says Watts.

Because how do you enforce COVID safety measures during the parade?

It would be extremely difficult, expensive and near impossible.

“If the city was going to let parades roll, we were going to do to-go windows only. We weren’t going to let anyone in the building,” says Watts.

The parades might be cancelled but it won’t stop folks from celebrating the holiday. And this Carnival season, you may be wearing more than one mask. Along with the continued social distancing, hand washing and other safety measures all in the name of safety for visitors and locals alike and the hope that people will follow the rules.

“I have no idea. I mean, we haven’t gotten that far in terms of thinking of is anyone going to show up? Are so many people going to show up and break the rules that we are going to be closed?”

“Mardi Gras may look a little different but people will still come to experience what there is to offer,” says Schultz.

The Mardi Gras season brings in close to one billion dollars to the city.

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