While New Orleanians are currently enjoying glorious fall weather and the loosening of mask mandates, don’t think for one minute that the next wave of the virus won’t be heading this way with the cooler temperatures and the influx of tourists during the holiday season.
Stubborn unvaccinated people continue to spread Covid-19 around the world. Every day, more than 1,000 Americans are still dying from the disease. Only three out of five U.S. residents are fully vaccinated against the virus. And only 15% of those eligible have gotten a booster shot.
Louisiana still has a relatively low vaccination rate as compared to many other states. It will also be difficult to assess the vaccination status of visitors who will descend on the Crescent City for Thanksgiving and the Bayou Classic.
All across our great city—from the beautiful Bywater to the oak trees adorning our Uptown streets—thousands of us are limiting our social activities, reminiscing about festivals gone by, and working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic. As we look positively towards the future with hopes of getting “back to normal,” many of our daily routines remain restricted, and social distancing, self-quarantining, and the closure of many gyms have made it harder to exercise. While it’s always important to stay active, regular physical exercise is emerging as one of the most vital parts of preserving our health and productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many, you may be missing the camaraderie of the gym, the relaxation of swimming laps at your local fitness facility, or the social connection of a spin class with a group of friends. The good news is, the beautiful parks that make our city so unique are the perfect playground to stay fit—and stay safe.
The COVID-19 testing site Monday (July 6) was closed as soon as it opened at 8 a.m., with the last person to be tested already in the long line at Dillard University. Tests are limited to 150 a day. The free testing will be held Tuesday (July 7) and Wednesday in Central City at the YMCA, 2220 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. The noninvasive nasal-swab tests will be provided through New Orleans East Hospital. Results are expected to be online or delivered in two to three days.
The city’s free walk-up testing for COVID-19 will be held in Broadmoor and the Lower Garden District this week. Anyone, with or without symptoms, is eligible to receive a test. No ID or health insurance is required. Testing at the Andrew Wilson Elementary School at 3617 Gen. Pershing St. in Broadmoor takes place Monday (June 29) and Tuesday (June 30) from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — or whenever tests run out.
The Councilmembers representing the city’s five districts — Joe Giarrusso, Jay H. Banks, Jared C. Brossett, Kristin Gisleson Palmer, and Cyndi Nguyen — will host a free citywide mask giveaway at 10 a.m. this Saturday, June 13. Uptown locations include the Notre Dame Seminary, 2901 S. Carrolton Ave., and Kingsley House, 1600 Constance St. The event is set to provide 16,000 face coverings to the public, many of which are washable and reusable, to prevent further spread of COVID-19. This joint mask giveaway by the five District Councilmembers is their way of encouraging the wearing of masks or face coverings as the City of New Orleans continues its phased reopening. “As New Orleans works to reopen the doors for our local business, industries, and community organizations, many citizens still need face coverings or masks to reduce the likelihood of spreading COVID-19,” said District D Councilman Jared Brossett in a statement.
New Orleans is embarking on the first week of Phase 1 in reopening the city as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed nearly 500 lives in the city and more than 2,000 deaths statewide. If you use public transit, the city’s recreational facilities or the public library, here’s what you can expect from those agencies during this initial phase. Regional Transit Authority
Beginning Sunday (May 17), the RTA returned to Saturday service on all bus and streetcar routes. The RTA also will go back to collecting fares as part of the Phase 1 reopening of the city. For more information regarding fares, visit www.RTAforward.org/fares-passes.
As the City of New Orleans moves into phase one of reopening, customer logging has been a suggested safety precaution, especially for high-traffic locales. IDScan.net, a local developer of identity verification and information gathering technologies, is now offering New Orleans companies a touchless solution for automatically logging customers. “Our solution helps businesses across industries protect their customers and their staff,” said Denis Petrov, CEO of IDScan.net, in a statement. “Our solution, which logs customers and gets them through the door as fast as possible, is particularly useful where there is high traffic.”
IDScan.net’s visitor management platform scans government-issued IDs and instantly pulls the individual’s name, address, and date of birth. It then creates a record for the individual in a database, along with the time and date of the visit.
The final months and weeks leading up to high school graduation tend to hold anticipated end-of-year senior traditions, celebrations and countdowns, but this semester is different. The class of 2020 won’t be able to celebrate their accomplishments with hugs from faculty and classmates this month; they won’t be able to graduate in a venue surrounded by cheers from family and friends; and they won’t be able to walk proudly across a stage to receive a handshake and a diploma. When Gov. John Bel Edwards announced school closures for the remainder of the semester in mid-March, students were faced with the challenge of adjusting to a new normal of distant learning. Now, with the state-wide stay-at-home order extended through May 15, graduating seniors are confronted with another major unprecedented change: a socially distanced graduation celebration. “Once you start your freshman year of high school, all you can think about is walking across that stage your senior year to make yourself and family proud,” said Rayon Pratt, a graduating senior at Landry-Walker high school.
I’m Joe Gerrity, local businessman, investor, and Real Estate Broker. For my Yo Joe! column, I’ll be answering real estate questions and providing market information special to New Orleans during this pandemic. Yo Joe! How were real estate sales affected in April?
As COVID-19 continues to impact the City of New Orleans, many small businesses have been forced to close altogether or adapt in ways they would never have imagined just a couple months ago. For Simply Dispensary, a local wellness products retailer with locations Uptown, in Mid-City, in the Marigny, and on the West Bank, that meant transitioning into a completely new industry in just a matter of weeks.
Since the beginning of March, Simply Dispensary has harnessed its relationships with suppliers and manufacturers in the U.S. and abroad to provide much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and hard-to-find supplies—hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, and 3-ply disposable face masks—to restaurants, convenience stores, and other businesses. “When it comes down to it, we are in the business of selling wellness products,” said co-owner and general manager Sean Partridge. “As this outbreak started affecting our city and the people we care about, and you can’t find the supplies you need to stay safe and well anywhere, we knew we had to start offering these products ourselves.” By mid-March, when the City of New Orleans announced the stay-at-home order, Simply Dispensary had already brought in inventory of hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, and hand soap.