Chinese New Year festivities kick off under shadow of coronavirus in New Orleans


Orleans emerged as an early cove in 19 hot spot after Carnival celebration served as super spreader events. Despite this year's new restrictions, the city is still welcoming tourists and that's led to push back from locals offer you House of member station W. W. N o reports. Orleanians typically spend the weeks between epiphany and fat Tuesday, eating, drinking and partying. Last year's festivities drew more than a million visitors in a recent study found the gatherings resulted in nearly 50,000 Corona virus infections. This year there no parades, and many locals have pledged to sit the season out. But that hasn't stopped people from flocking to Bourbon Street, but he was have circulated of largely unmasked crowds clutching to go drinks and dancing. Despite admonishments from the city, people are still breaking the rules. On Saturday afternoon. About half of the people in the cities French quarter were unmasked, openly defying the city's mandate. Revelers stopped to catch Mardi Gras beads thrown from balconies and one middle aged woman lost her mask in the process. It fell to the ground and she didn't pick it up. Seems like these horrifying Matt Maloney, a 24 year old cook. Well, Mardi Gras is known as a season of fun. She's usually stuck working. Sometimes it's nice. You get off of a 13 hour shift, and you go catch the end of the parade and have a drink with your co workers or whatever. But now, I mean, most of us are gonna be running for the hills because we don't want to have a further risk of catching Cove it right In January, she was exposed to the coronavirus of work. It took two weeks off without pay to quarantine. Loney says she wants the city to do more to protect hospitality workers. Here's New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell know that when it comes to our health and our people, especially our hospitality workforce. I'd rather be accused of doing too much. Been doing too little. She's already announced new restrictions for Mardi Gras weekend in response to recent large gatherings in the French Quarter. Starting today through Mardi Gras Day on Tuesday, all bars will be closed citywide. Tourist heavy areas will have police checkpoints to prevent crowding and the Claiborne Corridor, a local gathering spot will be fenced off. City relies heavily on tourism in a typical year, sales and property taxes account for more than 40% of its operating budget. Now, most of that money is gone. We estimate we're still losing about About 120 to $130 million a week. That's Stephen Perry of New Orleans and Company, a tourism organization that serves the marketing agency for the city. Before this new wave of restrictions business had been hoping for a Mardi Gras bump. For much of the pandemic. Hotel occupancy has been in the single digits during last year's Mardi Gras festivities. It was above 90%. Harry says local restaurants and hotels are exceedingly safe. And the best way to protect businesses is to let them stay open. If you shut them down, you're talking about the abject failure of hundreds. Of small business people and their inability ever To reopen well. Some of the crowds on Bourbon Street have been locals or college students will sudden says tourists are big part of the problem. Sudden is a New Orleans native and a columnist for the local paper. He says city leaders should tell everyone to stay home for Mardi Gras. It's like Having a House party. If you have a house party, it's your party. And if it's your party, you decide who gets to come. We like seeing people come and have a good time at our party but wants to have a party and have a bunch of people get sick, sudden says he's pleased with the new restrictions and hopes people stay home so they could celebrate next year. For

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