Mardi Gras is back on this year, but as you pack up your king cake, your ladder and your bead bag, please keep a few safety tips and strategies in mind to keep everyone healthy and safe. “This year, while we are all excited to go see a parade, we want to remind everyone to be smart when it comes to big crowds,” said Dr. Charles Muntan, emergency department medical director at Lakeview Regional Medical Center, a campus of Tulane Medical Center. “Following local COVID guidelines, as well as basic safety rules, will keep you out of the ER and marching along with the ban.

Maintain basic COVID guidelines:

  • If you feel sick, stay home.
  • Social distance whenever possible.
  • If social distancing isn’t possible, wear a mask.
  • Bring plenty of hand sanitizer.
  • Get vaccinated, or boosted, as soon as possible.

Following are a few simple safety guidelines:

  • Don’t fight with others for beads.
  • Don’t bend down to pick up anything (to prevent fingers from getting stepped on by other parade-goers.)
  • Bring healthy snacks to eat between pieces of king cake.
  • Drink plenty of water, especially if you are drinking alcohol.
  • Don’t climb on structures to get closer to the riders.

If you have small children:

  • Put your name and contact information on their clothing or arms.
  • Warn them not to get too close to the floats.
  • Be wary of what they catch – especially for toddlers, who could choke on broken beads or the eye of a stuffed animal.
  • Set up a meeting spot in case they get lost.
  • Tell them to find a police officer if they do get lost or feel threatened by another person.