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Top NOLA Music Venues Wisely Move to Require Vaccine or Negative COVID Test

Tipitina’s, D.B.A, and the Maple Leaf announced the new policy, effective Friday, July 30, in a joint statement

Tipitina’s Re-Opens with Ivan Neville’s Piano Sessions
Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images

In a joint statement shared to Instagram Wednesday, top New Orleans music venues Tipitina’s, Maple Leaf Bar, and D.B.A. announced they will all require patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to be admitted, a move kicked off in part by legendary DJ Melissa “DJ Soul Sister” Weber, who earlier this week announced her weekly dance parties would only admit those who are vaccinated.

The policy goes into effect this Friday, July 30, and requires vaccine proof, physical or digital, or documentation of a negative COVID test within the previous 72 hours; masking, as per city and state guidelines, is “strongly encouraged” for attendees in either category.

The three venues are some of the most popular in town — the legendary Tipitina’s led the way in the return of live music in New Orleans, reopening for seated, table-service shows on March 19, 2021 and then for general admission, full-capacity shows last month. D.B.A., which was put on the market by owners in March 2020 but since removed, reopened recently, shortly after launching an all outdoor music venue in an adjacent lot across Frenchmen Street.

The move results from a massive surge in COVID-19 cases in New Orleans and, even more dramatically, in Louisiana. New Orleans officials issued a mask advisory — stopping short of a mandate — last week, followed shortly after by a statewide mask advisory from Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. Louisiana is currently number one in the country in new COVID cases and new hospitalizations, and Orleans parish had the second-highest single-day increase in confirmed coronavirus cases in the state on Thursday, July 29.

The bars’ new policy will likely become more commonplace as the delta variant rages throughout the country; in San Francisco, an association of around 300 bars recently announced that participating bars will ask customers to show proof of vaccination or a 72-hour negative COVID test, effective this week.

There’s a lot on the line for the New Orleans hospitality community amid the surge — the city is approaching a jam-packed fall of postponed festivals and events, which officials have already issued warnings about being in danger if cases continue to rise at current rates.

For a list of upcoming vaccination events in the New Orleans area, see here. Read the music venues’ joint statement below.