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Krewe of Boo to be test case for carnival COVID restrictions

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:06 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - City officials will be watching closely as the first Mardi Gras day parade to roll a year and a half takes to the streets next weekend.

The city is considering a wide range of COVID protection options, but Jefferson Parish officials or say it’s time for personal responsibility.

Next Saturday (Oct. 23) the Krewe of Boo takes to the streets of New Orleans for the first time in two years with new COVID restrictions in place.

“Crewmembers and all people associated will have to show proof of vaccination or COVID free test within 72 hours of a parade,” said Mardi Gras Guide publisher Arthur Hardy.

The parade is being looked at as a precursor for what Mardi Gras might look like in February and March 2022.

“You have to think about carnival balls and restrictions. I think it’s a wait-and-see posture right now,” said Hardy.

The mayor has floated a wide range of protection options including possibly imposing vaccination requirements at the airport for incoming visitors, something which many say would be hard to pull off.

“If you’re an island like Hawaii it works if you’re checking people at the airport but if you’re not checking people driving in, what are you doing?” said Jefferson Parish councilmember Jennifer Van Vrancken.

“You look every weekend and you see 80,000 people in stadiums with no mask. And then look at Mardi Gras and it’s all different scenarios of hoops to jump through,” said float builder Mac Cantrell.

There are also legal questions about possibly imposing vaccination requirements at Armstrong International Airport which is inside of Jefferson Parish.

“I don’t know if the government of New Orleans has the authority to impose restrictions on the airport,” said Van Vrancken.

Float builder Mac Cantrell is involved in 15 Louisiana parades and says COVID uncertainty may cause some Jefferson Parish krewes to fall by the wayside.

“I know of two crews that probably will not parade in Jefferson Parish,” said Cantrell.

So far Jefferson Parish has not imposed restrictions on parades and at least one council member says it’s time to move forward, to preserve our unique culture.

“Without parades, we are just Wyoming,” said Van Vrancken.

The Mayors Office issued a statement saying, “As you’ve heard the mayor say at every step what happens next depends on what we do right now. The city is carefully considering appropriate safeguards and protocols for a potential 2022 Mardi Gras celebration which may include additional vaccine mandates for visitors and for riders. We are in close communication with crew captains and mindful of the timeline.”

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