Baton Rouge leaders are planning to meet with Mardi Gras organizers and other community members later this week to bounce ideas on how to hold 2021 festivities while balancing health safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The city plans to lay out its plans for holding Carnival events while getting feedback from organizers and krewes during a private meeting Friday, said Mark Armstrong, a spokesman for Mayor Sharon Weston Broome.

Because the meeting is private, he declined to say what options the city is considering after saying this week officials are mulling certain modifications for Carnival festivities.

“Mardi gras is important to us. It’s important to our culture and economy,” Armstrong said, adding that the city-parish also needs to balance public health ahead of events.

The City of New Orleans said this week that it will not allow parades to roll during Carnival season. Instead, the city is seeking input on ways it can celebrate the holiday while balancing public health safety.

Some Baton Rouge Krewes have called off annual balls and other parties due to uncertainties regarding crowd sizes.

The Krewe of Tucumcari this week cancelled its annual ball due to state restrictions on gathers, limits on dancing and live music at the River Center, and additional costs for screening and cleaning.

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ current reopening phase caps gatherings at 250 people, among other restrictions.

Organizers for the Spanish Town parade say they plan to hold off making any decisions until Dec. 4 when the governor’s order ends and is likely to either be extended or replaced with a new mandate.

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been sharply increasing in recent weeks across the country.

Though Louisiana has avoided massive case surges, state and local officials have raised alarms recently following a recent rise in infections and warned that more restrictions may be possible.

Baton Rouge leaders have said while it’s difficult to know what infection counts may be in February, much of the decision making for holding large events centers on the level of COVID-19 cases.

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