By Associated Press - Friday, February 26, 2021

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New Orleans’ coronavirus pandemic restrictions are being relaxed Friday, Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s office said.

“The past 30 days have shown a sustained decrease in case counts, transmission rate, and positivity rate,” a news release said Thursday.

Starting at 6 a.m. Friday, it said, groups of up to 75 may gather indoors and 150 outdoors, and restaurants, bars, breweries, libraries and other businesses may seat up to 15 people at a table. Indoor stadiums may admit up to 15% of the maximum number of fans usually allowed, with outdoor stadiums admitting up to 25%.

The news release was sent hours after Gov. John Bel Edwards said steadily declining numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations statewide may indicate that vaccines are making a difference.

More than 2,000 people were hospitalized statewide in January, but the number was 679 on Thursday.

New Orleans’ changes bring city guidelines closer to the state’s, the city said.

New Orleans has averaged around 50 new COVID-19 cases a day with less than 2% of tests indicating infection with the novel coronavirus that causes it, the statement said.

Case counts in January averaged more than 170 a day.

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