2022 COVID-19 Protocols
Dear Krewe Member:
The enthusiastic anticipation for WMG 2022 is at a pace not seen since 2007, when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita force the cancellation of the 2006 Ball. As expected, the Hilton is sold out. Likewise, due to an unbelievable number of new Krewe member requests, we have actually had to put a freeze on new Members until after the 2022 Ball!
Starting this summer, as the Royalty were selected and attendees began to make plans to attend, we have each received inquiries (from krewe members, sponsors, families of queens and princesses, the King and Queen’s families, as well as managers of large ticket sub-blocks) as to what safeguards would be implemented to protect attendees from COVID 19.
As this was a public health issue beyond our capabilities, we consulted with the infectious disease/epidemiology physicians at Ochsner Health System (who have devised similar protocols for the Saints, Pelicans, Superdome and Smoothie King Arena, among others). Our request to Ochsner was very simple; please devise a process which BOTH safeguards the thousands of attendees all gathered under one roof, in one room, AND provides MULTIPLE OPTIONS FOR COMPLYING with that policy, so as to not deny anyone the opportunity to attend if they choose to do so.
Below you will find that policy. Additionally, the krewe is evaluating proposals from experienced national HIPAA compliant data management companies to:
administer this recommended process at the hotel, and simplify it with the use of a QR code (much like an NBA sports arena currently operates) that is unique to each individual;
protect the confidentiality of the data, and finally,
to destroy the data at the conclusion of the Ball weekend.
We endeavor to make this process as rapid and seamless as possible, so the focus can remain on the celebration and revelry which WMG is so famous for.
We understand that some who are medically fragile may not feel comfortable in attending in 2022, even with all of these safeguards implemented. We also understand that some will not wish to choose either of the compliance options (either proof of vaccine OR negative test) needed to attend. We will respect those decisions and roll forward to the 2023 Ball any payment made for tickets (i.e. issue a credit to such individuals who wish to “opt out” of 2022) provided they notify the krewe office NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3rd (preferably via email at firstname.lastname@example.org) of their desire to opt out of 2022 and roll their payment forward. No attendee/krewe member in good standing (assuming krewe dues have been paid) will be penalized for exercising their decision to “opt out” of attending.
We hope this provides a detailed explanation of both how and why this policy came about, as well as the measures we have taken to execute this in the simplest, safest, and most protected method possible. Instructions for gaining clearance through our “MARDI GRAS GO!” program will be sent on December 15, 2021.
G. Wayne Smith
Mark A. Ackal
Ted W. Jones