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What to Expect for Mardi Gras 2022: COVID Protocols and Staying Safe

Posted in COVID-19 on February 5, 2022

Mardi Gras is the season of festivities, full of masked balls, extravagant parades, and the kings and queens of the krewes. As the biggest celebration in New Orleans, locals and visitors alike were disappointed at last year’s cancellation. COVID spread through the country like wildfire and caused a pandemic that we are still battling. 

Still, the residents of New Orleans are resilient. In response to the canceled Mardi Gras 2021, locals turned their homes into floats. More than 3,000 homes were decked out in themed glory, a massive symbol of solidarity and strength. 

This year, Mardi Gras 2022 will go on. Fat Tuesday’s iconic parades and festivities will carry on the traditions dating back to the 1700s. With rising cases of COVID brought on by the Omicron variant, Mardi Gras will look a little different. 

What Are the New COVID Protocols for Mardi Gras 2022?

In response to COVID’s recent escalation, Fat Tuesday will implement several new rules. According to Mardi Gras New Orleans:

  • More than 80% of adults have received their COVID vaccinations 
  • In all, 64.6% of residents have been fully vaccinated, followed by 34.2% of children 5 to 17-years-old

Mayor LaToya Cantrell and her team have carried out a Modified Phase Three beginning January 12, 2022. In the multi-phase approach, public spaces are slowly coming back to life for Mardi Gras.

The modified restrictions are as follows:

  • Masks are required in all indoor spaces
  • Anyone age 5 or older must show proof of at least one dose of the vaccine to gain entry to restaurants, bars, breweries, and other indoor spaces
  • In lieu of vaccination proof, a negative antigen or PCR COVID test taken within 72 hours is acceptable if the following information is clearly visible:
    • Name
    • Date of test
    • Results 
  • On Tuesday, February 1, anyone over 5 will need to show proof of both doses of the vaccine, with the exception of Johnson and Johnson one-shot or a negative COVID test within 72 hours

According to the Mayor’s office, Mardi Gras 2022 will have limited staffing from public safety personnel, firefighters, law enforcement, and medical workers. In response, the parade routes have been changed. 

What are the Parade Routes for This Year’s Mardi Gras?

The parade routes will look different due to staffing shortages. The Mardi Gras main site stated:

  • All parades that start on the river side of Napoleon Ave., Jefferson Ave. and Magazine St., Tchoupitoulas St. and Henry Clay St. will form at Napoleon Ave. and Prytania St.
  • Parades that start on Napoleon Ave. and S. Saratoga St. will form at Napoleon Ave. and Carondelet St.
  • Parades that start at Holiday Dr. and Fiesta St. will form at Wall Blvd and Holiday Dr.
  • Endymion will remain on its original route but will turn right onto Elks Pl/Loyola Ave. instead of turning right onto St. Charles Ave. It will then turn right onto Girod St. from Loyola Ave. and proceed to the rear of the Superdome
  • Zulu will remain on its original route, but after passing Gallier Hall, it will turn left onto Poydras St. and right onto Loyola Ave. before continuing on its original Basin St. route.
  • Rex will remain on its original route but will start on Napoleon Ave and Carondelet St. instead of S. Claiborne Ave. and Napoleon Ave.
  • Elks and Crescent City will stay on their original route. They will be permitted to turn left onto Poydras St. from St. Charles Ave. and continue straight on Poydras St.

Mardi Gras parades are known for their extravagant floats. After last year’s cancellation, the floats of Mardi Gras 2022 are expected to be even more over-the-top.

What Are the Most Common Injuries During Mardi Gras and How to Avoid Getting Hurt?

The largest Mardi Gras celebration in the nation happens in New Orleans. Nearly 1.4 million people flock to the city to share in the celebration. 

Mardi Gras, French for Fat Tuesday, celebrates the time leading up to Lent. While Lent is known for fasting, the weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday is a binge of excess. Present-day attendees come to join in the merriment from all over. 

Unfortunately, with over a million visitors to the city and the routine overconsumption of alcohol, accidents can happen.

The most common injuries associated with Mardi Gras every year include:

  • During parades, participants keep with tradition and throw an assortment of objects at the crowds. Beads and the most famous of Mardi Gras throwables. However, other incidents of potatoes and coconuts have been reported. 

Flying objects can cause significant damage to the head and eyes. To stay safe, wear sunglasses and always be aware of your surroundings. 

  • Sunburn is a very common injury that can quickly become dangerous. Severe sunburns can cause painful blisters and take weeks to heal. Every sunburn damages the skin cells’ genetic material and leads to a higher probability of developing cancer.  

Stay safe by using the highest SPF sunblock available and setting the alarm on your phone to remind you to reapply. 

  • Participants in the parades can suffer an array of injuries. Dancers can sprain their ankles and participants can fall off the floats. Falling off a moving float can result in serious injuries like broken bones and head trauma. Always stretch before you dance and watch your step on the floats. 
  • With alcohol in excess everywhere during Mardi Gras, many people will drink and drive. Impaired drivers are prone to hitting other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. 

According to reports, in the 11 days before Fat Tuesday, 50% more people are arrested per day than outside Mardi Gras season.

Most notably, a man drove a truck into a Mardi Gras parade crowd in 2017. His blood-alcohol level was .232%. 28 people were sent to the hospital for their injuries. 

Stay safe this Mardi Gras and try to use taxicabs or ridesharing services. There is no reason to drink and drive. 

  • Despite the celebration, alcohol can contribute to aggressive behavior. Fights and bar brawls can break out any time of day. The celebrations and festivities can start in the morning and last all day and into the night. 

If you are around an abrupt fight, it is important not to interfere and reach out to security or police.

While Mardi Gras goers cannot always avoid danger, paying attention to the surroundings and drinking responsibly will help attendees stay safe throughout the celebrations. 

How Mardi Gras Developed Its Most Famous Traditions

Mardi Gras is world-famous, so much so that in 1872 the Grand Duke Alexis Romanov Alexandrovich attended the celebrations. From this visit, the King of Carnival, Rex, was invented. In addition, Mardi Gras adopted the Romanoff’s family colors as the official colors of the festival, purple, green, and gold.

The history of Mardi Gras has deep roots. It is a carnival worth attending at least once in a person’s life. However, it is imperative to be prepared. COVID, throws, and alcohol-related accidents are all dangers to be aware of during your visit. 

Should a person’s negligence cause you injury, the Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC is here to offer a free consultation