Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test requirement draws mixed reaction in New Orleans

Many businesses and employees are relieved, while others say it’s asking too much.
Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 10:47 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Starting Monday, both employees and customers need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to get into many New Orleans businesses.

This new mandate is drawing mixed reactions across the city. Some businesses feel this will help us get a handle on the latest surge, while others feel it won’t and this is asking too much.

“I’m glad that the mayor is doing it,” Scot Craig said. “It kind of takes the pressure off of all of us.”

Scot Craig, Chef and Owner of Katie’s Restaurant says he was thinking of making the requirement before the announcement. Some of his vaccinated staff were starting to get worried.

“If you’re vaccinated, there is scientific proof now that says you’re probably not going to be hospitalized or die, so, I just want everyone to be safe,” Craig said.

For Will Wilson, owner of Carrollton Station, it also came as no surprise.

“I think some people wanted it to happen sooner, some people think it’s not going to work, but it was coming, no matter what,” Wilson said. “It’s better than a shutdown.”

For him, it still allows people to sit at the bar and mingle, while masked up of course. A lot better than going back to the other restrictions.

“We can’t really sustain that anymore,” Wilson said. “You know, losing Jazz Fest has obviously been a gut punch for everybody and we just got to do what we can to save Mardi Gras and get through the fall and winter.”

The Louisiana Restaurant Association says while it supports the mask mandate and encouraging people to get vaccinated, it doesn’t support broad mandates that add costs to operations.

The LRA says Cantrell is moving too fast, with the changes beginning Monday and there’s no proof this will be effective.

Also saying, smaller restaurants lack the staff to manage this verification easily.

“I am concerned every day that some new curveball is going to impact my business, but as usual, we will fight through this and hit the curveballs back,” Craig said.

Both owners don’t think this will impact their business, but both are unsure how enforcement will go.

“It’s tough, you know unless you have a dedicated person doing everything or checking them at the door and whatnot,” Wilson said. “I mean, it’s hard and of course, I’ve heard stories about how the fake COVID vaccination card is the big thing, but we’re gonna do our best and LA Wallet certainly helps.”

Because they say they see vaccines can save lives are another step in getting rid of COVID-19.

“That’s what keeps people in bars and not in hospitals, that’s our goal,” Wilson said.

“Until we listen and get vaccinated, we listen to what our leaders are telling us to do, with scientific proof, it’s not going to go away,” Craig said.

The LRA says it would never object to any of its members choosing to establish these policies on their own, it’s their right in a free enterprise system, but it says Mayor Cantrell has asked for feedback, then proceeded to ignore it.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click Here to report it. Please include the headline.

Copyright 2021 WVUE. All rights reserved.