Visiting Harrah’s New Orleans? Bring Proof Of Vaccination Or A Recent Negative Test

Posted on August 18, 2021 - Last Updated on January 26, 2022

For Louisiana residents who have yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, moving about in New Orleans is about to get more complicated.

A New Orleans vaccine mandate is soon to take effect for many indoor venues, including Harrah’s New Orleans.

Beginning this week, Louisiana residents and visitors who want to enter the casino will need either proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test no older than 72 hours. The city’s mayor hopes the measure will ease the current strain on its healthcare system.

Details of the New Orleans vaccine mandate

New Orleans joins a growing list of other cities to impose such restrictions on the unvaccinated. Preceding it are New York City and San Francisco.

The restrictions apply to indoor venues, including:

  • Adult performance venues
  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Casinos
  • Concert halls
  • Event spaces
  • Fitness centers
  • Gyms
  • Music halls
  • Racetracks
  • Restaurants
  • Sports complexes
  • Stadiums

The order went into effect Aug. 16, affecting both venues in the city attached to Caesars Entertainment. Those are the newly rebranded Caesars Superdome and Harrah’s, which is currently undergoing a re-brand to Caesars New Orleans.

For entry, patrons need to show they have received either the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least the first dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or a negative result to a COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior.

In addition, an indoor mask mandate remains in place for similar venues, regardless of vaccination status. The city says that 53% of its adult population is fully vaccinated. However, its status as a popular tourist spot has Mayor LaToya Cantrell still concerned.

“Our residents have done the right thing. We’re mostly vaccinated,” Cantrell said. “Because so many of (our) neighbors and our visitors are not, our people are in danger.”

The numbers from around Louisiana support Cantrell’s position.

Vaccination rates around Louisiana among the worst in the nation

According to the latest data, less than half of all eligible Louisianans have received one shot of the two-dose vaccines. Just over a third of the same people are fully vaccinated. That’s part of what’s leading to the healthcare availability issues in the state.

Cantrell says that most of the COVID patients at the city’s hospitals are not only non-residents of the city but also unvaccinated. The city’s health department director, Dr. Jennifer Avegno, described the system itself as “on life support.”

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the state has the second-highest COVID-19 infection rate in the country. More than 90% of current patients have not received vaccinations. Hospitals around the state report a lack of available beds and staff. Ambulances are unable to respond to other emergency calls because they are acting as temporary treatment venues for patients at full hospitals.

Just as Gov. John Bel Edwards followed Cantrell’s lead with the mask mandate, he might follow suit here as well. This mitigation measure takes aim at slowing the spread indoors in New Orleans. Without improvement, other LA casinos might see similar restrictions in the near future.

Photo by AP / Marcio Jose Sanchez
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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