The City of New Orleans announced yesterday that it was lifting its masking requirements beginning Thursday, March 3 at 6:00 am.

The announcement was made yesterday at a press conference.

This news did not come as a big surprise to many as it was popular belief that Mayor Latoya Cantrell wanted the mask mandate to be in effect through Mardi Gras day.

This action to keep the mask mandate didn't come without much scrutiny. However, City Health Director Jennifer Avegno said that after weathering five waves of COVID, the mitigation measures imposed by the city were justified.

Avegno said that New Orleans did better than the surrounding areas.

The City of New Orleans will continue to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test (within 72 hours) to enter certain businesses.

This could change soon as well. Avegno said that the health department will continue to monitor positive tests and hospitalizations over the next two and a half weeks to see the impact of the large crowding during Mardi Gras.

“It would be foolish to think we aren’t going to see an increase in cases after all of the events in the past few weeks,” Avegno stated.

However, Avegno said that if cases continue to remain stable, the city will also lift its mandate requiring proof of vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test to enter select businesses, restaurants, and other public places under the current ruling. That day is scheduled for March 21.

City health officials also made the announcement yesterday that the decision to require masks at schools will be left up to the schools and school systems themselves.

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.