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New Orleans Restaurants and Grocery Stores Will Soon Have to Track Customer Data

Businesses will have to plan for contact tracing under the Mayor’s safe reopening plan

New Orleans businesses will have to keep track of customers under the mayor’s reopening plan
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Under new measures released Wednesday by the City of New Orleans as part of its “safe reopening” plan, Orleans Parish businesses including restaurants and grocery stores will soon have to track customers who enter their space.

A section titled “Prepare to modify your operations,” on the city’s reopening page outlines steps for businesses to reduce capacity, implement social distancing, increase cleaning, protect workers, and plan for contact tracing. Businesses will need to “develop a plan to track the employees and clients in your space in case you are asked to assist in tracing the contacts of a sick individual.”

A statement released by the Mayor’s office later Wednesday night said that details of managing contact tracing “are still being worked out” but that businesses will be expected to “play a role and to have a plan in place to help track” employees and patrons.

New Orleans’s stay-at-home order is in place until at least May 15, at which point the city will enter Phase One of its reopening plan, if lifted. Presumably, the new requirements for contact tracing would begin at that time. In the same section outlining the modifications, the city says “more information on guidelines and requirements will be made prior to moving to the next phase.”

New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell decided last month that Orleans Parish would not reopen outdoor seating along with the rest of the state following the governor’s announcement that restaurants could choose to do so beginning May 1.

UPDATE: May 12, 2020: Grocery and retail stores will no longer be included in the customer tracing requirement. Restaurants offering dine-in service will need to log customers per new language on the city’s Safe Reopening page.

Eater is tracking the impact of the novel coronavirus on the city’s restaurant industry. Have a story to share? Reach out at nola@eater.com.

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