NEW ORLEANS—Is less than two weeks away from what might be the same type of super spreader event from last year. There is a lot of concern in “letting the good times roll.”
In 2020, New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell said she would have cancelled Mardi Gras had the city known of COVID-19. One year later she says, “we know that we are in the carnival season right now. We are focusing on that time frame, Friday through Tuesday to Mardi Gras Day. I’m really concerned. I understand the world will be watching.”
It’s been a tough couple of months for businesses in New Orleans as well as the unemployed in the city’s hospitality industry. Mardi Gras sees normally over a billion dollar injection to the local and state economy. Many of the tourists can’t wait to get their hands on a coveted hand grenade.
Pam Forner is the owner of Tropical Isle and says businesses are hoping Mardi Gras of 2021 will bring more fortune than last year and says, “it’s hard because we don’t have much business anyway. Everybody is just trying to make it and be as positive as they can.”
With much tourism dollars come about over a million and a half tourists visiting the city. THis year, hotels are reporting quite a few bookings from out of town. However, there is a danger that history could repeat itself. Different than last year is the arrival of a UK variant that the CDC says is not only easier to spread but potentially more deadly.
Dr. Jeff Elder an ER Doctor and the Director of Emergency Preparedness for LCMC Health and says, “in a short period of time, you can expose more people to the virus and more people become infected. We know that some people will get sicker and it will require more hospitalizations, which will increase the number of cases in hospitals, more people in the icu’s and unfortunately more deaths.”