UPDATED 1/28/2022 with additional information
The International Roofing Expo (IRE) is adjusting some of its health and safety requirements following revised COVID-19 guidelines issued by the City of New Orleans.
Informa, the company coordinating the IRE, is following state and local regulations and guidance for its in-person event taking place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Feb. 1-3. Currently, there is no proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test requirement for attending the IRE.
On Jan. 12, New Orleans reinstated a mask mandate for all public indoor spaces for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. The city's COVID-19 website states the mandate was put into place due to the "exponential growth of new COVID cases and hospitalizations statewide due to the Omicron variant."
"Throughout this pandemic, we’ve successfully implemented layered mitigation measures — masking, testing and vaccinations — to protect us through COVID-19 surges and minimize loss of health, life and business," said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, director of the New Orleans Health Department. "As we go about our daily lives and anticipate welcoming large crowds to the City in the coming weeks, we must implement all of these measures to remain safe and healthy."
Attending events and venues outside of the trade show also come with caveats. Beginning Feb. 1, the City of New Orleans is requiring proof of receiving two doses of an approved COVID vaccine — or only one if it is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours to access indoor dining, indoor fitness, and indoor entertainment spaces or performance spaces and large outdoor events.
The New Orleans COVID-19 website points to less-than-optimal vaccination rates among residents ages 5 to 17 as well as the Omicron variant as reasons for the new guidelines.
“The highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus has resulted in large increases in cases and hospitalizations in a short period of time,” the City of New Orleans website states. “Therefore, the New Orleans Health Department is placing restrictions on certain activities.”
According to the IRE’s health and safety FAQ, these mandates will apply to the IRE’s First-Time Attendees Reception and Welcome Party on Feb. 1, and other events taking place in conjunction with the show, including the SRS Distribution charity concert and the National Roofing Contractors Association's Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Reception. Both events take place Feb. 2.
To make it easier for attendees to visit the city and take part in activities outside of the trade show, the IRE is providing COVID-19 testing on-site at the convention center for anyone who is not fully vaccinated.
Testing will be in room 240 during the following hours:
- Sunday, Jan. 30 | 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.
- Monday, Jan. 31 | 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- Tuesday, Feb. 1 | 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, Feb. 2 | 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
On Jan. 30, licensed nurses will be on-site starting at noon to administer COVID-19 rapid antigen tests for $50 per test. PCR testing will be available for international guests upon request. Negative COVID-19 tests are only valid for 72 hours in New Orleans, meaning attendees may need to re-test while at the show.
New Orleans’ COVID-19 guidelines do not require masks to be worn at indoor or outdoor events of more than 500, but individuals are “strongly recommended” to wear masks through the duration of the event except while eating or drinking.
Other safety precautions will include hand sanitizing stations throughout the venue as well as widened aisles to promote physical distancing. More details about on-site testing and other safety measures taking place at the IRE can be found at theroofingexpo.com.