New Orleans officials express concern over Labor Day crowds

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Large crowds in New Orleans over the Labor Day weekend prompted city officials to issue a warning that the activity could cause a spike in coronavirus cases and that businesses will face citations for violating rules.

“The city is aware of large crowd activity in violation of the public health guidelines, and of the images circulating online. This behavior is unacceptable, and it is dangerous. COVID-19 is not taking a holiday this weekend, and the irresponsible actions on display could have serious consequences that show up in the data two weeks from now: more cases, more community spread, and more deaths," a city hall spokesperson said in a statement.

City officials said on Friday and Saturday that they had had 36 calls about large gatherings and another 46 calls for businesses not following rules.

The city said code enforcement officers will be performing door-to-door checks to ensure food providers and restaurants are enforcing the guidelines regarding social distancing and facial coverings and the sale of go-cups.

Police will also be breaking up large gatherings, city officials said.

Public health officials have expressed concern that Labor Day gatherings could cause a spike in COVID-19 cases, similar to what happened after Memorial Day and July Fourth celebrations.

The Louisiana Department of Health on Sunday reported 1,387 new cases in the state and 58 new deaths over the last 48 hours.

___

Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak