ST. LOUIS — The Mardi Gras season is upon us, but this year things look a little different thanks to the freezing temperatures and the COVID pandemic.
“I don’t think there’s anything else like this anywhere in the world,” said Mardi Gras Foundation President Mack Bradley
Despite rising case numbers, Mack Bradley is determined not to let COVID-19 cancel the party.
“In one respect, this year is no different than any other year in the sense that we’re always focused on producing events that are both fun and safe,” said Bradley.
Once again, 12th Night was sold out, but this year the guest list was limited to around 60 people, and it could be a sign of things to come.
“We’ve always used this event as a marker for the beginning of the season,” said Bradley. “In COVID times safety takes on a new element.”
For Mardi Gras, if you want to go into a tent, masks are mandatory along with proof of vaccination. If you don’t have that, you can test negative within 72 hours of the event, but not just any test will do.
“What that means is these home tests don’t really work,” said Bradley. “If you’ve taken one of those it shows you your result, but there’s no indication of who took it or on what day they took it.”
Tests must be administered by a health care professional. The test can be either PCR or rapid. A photo ID also will be required to match the guest's identity to the test result.
These requirements extend beyond Mardi Gras day and include all indoor events produced by Soulard Mardi Gras. These include Family Winter Carnival on Jan. 22, the Cajun Cook-Off on Feb. 12 and the Mayor’s Ball on Feb. 25.
Bradley said the Mardi Gras Foundation will continue to abide by city ordinances and CDC guidelines.
“Nothing is going to be totally foolproof,” said St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones.
That’s why they’ve yet to decide if there will be capacity limits inside the tents on the day of the Mardi Gras parade.
“The environment that we were in two weeks ago is different than it is now, and is likely different than it will be two weeks from now,” said Bradley.
“You know it’s events like this that will help people kind of let their hair down a little bit and celebrate the Mardi Gras season,” said Jones. “I would like to avoid a big virtual, but we’ll see.”
If you would like to take a look at the full events list or the health and safety guides lines for this year's St. Louis Mardi Gras click here.