PHASE 1 REOPENING IN LOUISIANA — Louisiana’s Governor John Bel Edwards announced Monday that he's moving the state away from a “stay-at-home” position he enacted by Emergency Orders in late March. At a press conference yesterday, Edwards said beginning this weekend some businesses allowed to reopen with restrictions include: churches, restaurants, hair salons, gyms, movie theaters, and casinos.
"We wanted to make absolutely sure that we were following the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) vetted plan that was issued by the White House Coronavirus Task Force and President Trump's phased approach to reopening the country," explained Edwards. "And I do believe we are striking the right balance with this plan."
Businesses allowed to reopen will be limited to one-quarter of their previous capacity, and employees working around customers will have to wear masks. Restaurants will be able to reopen inside seating and table service, but at the 25% capacity level to allow for social distancing. Tattoo parlors, spas, amusement parks and children's museums will remain closed.
The Governor pointed out that Covid-19 metrics laid out by the White House were key to determine if the state is ready to reopen. Those include: two weeks of declining numbers of new cases, people with symptoms and hospitalizations, as well as boosted testing and contact tracing capacity.
But even with this Phase 1 limited reopening, Dr. Alex Billioux, assistant secretary for the state’s Office of Public Health explained that people at higher health risk should still practice the social safety guidelines.
"The risk is still remaining there for Covid (19) and we want to make sure that those individuals at highest risk are taking control over keeping themselves safe," Billioux said. "And their family members who are also part of a household with those individuals should also be thoughtful about the risks that they take and then bring back to their home."
Edwards said Phase 1 will be in effect for 21 days as there will be another announcement on June 5th for an update and perhaps announce Phase 2 which would apply to other business categories but Edwards also said a lot depends on Covid-19 infection rates over the next two weeks.