On Thursday, New Orleans became the first major city in the United States to require proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test to patronize indoor establishments. The mandate came as cases have exploded in the state of Louisiana, far outpacing the rate of vaccinations.
"We really have no choice," mayor LaToya Cantrell said. "The situation is dire."
The mandate applied to New Orleans's most important indoor establishment -- the Superdome.
The Saints announced Thursday they will not protest the mandate. All 74,295 seats will be open, but open only to those who can prove they are vaccinated against and/or negative for COVID-19.
"These rules allow for full capacity on game day, and we must comply with those regulations to safely return to full capacity for the first time in more than a year and a half," the Saints said in a statement. "As required by the City of New Orleans, fans will simply need to show their vaccination card or verified digital proof of vaccination (LA Wallet or other official government sanctioned app) or negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within the prior 72 hours to attend games. Per the Governor's mandate and updated New Orleans regulations, masks will also be required at all times other than when eating or drinking."
Shortly thereafter, Tulane AD Troy Dannen told Yahoo Sports his department will require the same at Yulman Stadium, which is outdoors.
With New Orleans the first out on the limb, others are likely to follow. Already, San Francisco has announced it will require proof of vaccination to enter indoor establishments.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Indiana University is allowed to require its students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The catch there is the loophole to receive an exemption is so broad that anyone seeking such an exemption is "virtually guaranteed" to get one.
Still, the nation's highest court upholding a major state university's vaccine mandate is likely to inspire other public institutions to do the same as we head into our second consecutive fall semester with the coronavirus along for the ride.