Parents, business owners prepare for expanded New Orleans vaccine mandate for ages 5-17

The High Hat Cafe Vaccine Mandate
The High Hat Cafe Vaccine Mandate(wvue)
Published: Jan. 2, 2022 at 9:53 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - With multiple signs and postings at the front door of the High Hat Café, there’s little doubt you’ll have to flash proof of vaccination.

“There’s no real conversation that we have at the door with people other than this is what we do and how we do it,” said owner, Chip Apperson.

It’s the science and prioritizing health and safety that’s guided owner, Apperson to firmly adhere to the city’s vaccine mandates. It will be no different he says when they need to ask parents for proof of vaccination for the little ones as well.

“We’ve always kind of follow the science and follow to what our elected officials have asked us to do… I believe if we were more austere in following this at the beginning we’d be out of this mess,” said Apperson.

More than 80% of adults in the city are vaccinated, but just about 34% of 5 to 17-year-olds are vaccinated. City leaders say considering the surging Omicron variant it was time for additional COVID restrictions.

“It’s important for kids to get vaccinated for them. Because the pandemic right now with the Omicron variant is still surging in our communities. So as much protection as we can get across the spectrum of age, the better we do,” said Dr. Nicholas Van Sickels.

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Infectious disease Dr. Nicholas Van Sickels with CrescentCare says they’ve been working with area schools to improve vaccination rates among little ones, an effort he says has slowed throughout the holiday season but is improving.

“In general, yes, most kids do very well with COVID but some don’t. And some get very sick and some do have weakened immune systems. So, for us, as a society is important for all of us to get vaccinated for all of our kids to get vaccinated,” said Van Sickels.

“He’s still, even though they’re not required. He still wears his mask to school. So I kind of feel like he still have that little bit of a buffer,” said parents Aja and Afredo Roman.

The Romans say they’re not yet ready to make that decision for their 6-year-old, hoping for more conversations with their pediatrician before bringing out the needles.

“I’m not 100% opposed I just need more information,” said Aja Roman.

They say in the meantime, New Orleans eateries may simply be reserved for date nights.

“It means we’re going to have to leave him with our Abuela at home and then we’ve got a dinner for once a week,” said the Romans.

The city does not currently have a mask mandate in effect, but they strongly encourage masking indoors.

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