Back in November, New Orleans’ Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced the cancellation of the Mardi Gras parades to avoid large gatherings and limit the spread of COVID-19. But after a weekend of large, illegal crowds in the French Quarter, the City of New Orleans is taking the Mardi Gras restrictions several steps further.

Starting at 6:00 AM on Friday, February 12 until 6:00 AM on Wednesday, February 17, all bars will cease indoor and outdoor operations; all establishments will be prohibited from selling alcohol through drive-through, curbside, and takeout sales; and all sales of packaged alcohol, whether for consumption on- or off-premises, are prohibited in the French Quarter and Central Business District. Mardi Gras restrictions also mean that vehicle and pedestrian traffic will be limited in certain busy places.

As reported by CNN, Cantrell explained, “I think we were all hopeful that we could strike the necessary balance for a safe and fun Mardi Gras, but given these new variants, the recent large crowds in the Quarter and the potential for even larger crowds this weekend and as we move into the weekend of Mardi Gras, it has become very apparent that it is hard to do.”

According to the City of New Orleans, last year’s Mardi Gras celebrations led to a community spread of COVID-19 that “caused the City’s hospitals to reach capacity.”