Edwards: Louisiana to move into phase 2 Friday

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Gov. John Bel Edwards holds a press conference on COVID-19 April 6. (Photo courtesy of LPB via YouTube)

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Monday that he plans to move Louisiana to Phase 2 of reopening on Friday, June 5.

Edwards made the announcement during a press conference Monday afternoon.

Edwards says he will sign the proclamation on Thursday that will have the details.

Under the second phase, businesses like restaurants, retailers and other businesses that have been operating at 25% capacity for the past two weeks can up their capacity to 50%.

Bars can operate at 25% capacity of seated occupants, according to Edwards, the first time bars without food permits have been allowed to operate since mid-March. Casinos can go to 50% capacity with 75% of gaming positions operating, if approved by the Gaming Control Board.

The second phase also allows pool halls, bowling alleys, tattoo parlors, recreational pools and spas to reopen with additional restrictions.

Every region of the state is not doing equally well, he said, but there are fewer hot spots than there have been. Contact tracing and increased testing will help keep an eye on those spots.

“Louisiana is headed in the right direction, but there’s still a lot of COVID-19 in Louisiana, it’s in every community in the state, so we still have work to do,” he said. “We still have restrictions that must stay in place. We’re not going to be fully back to normal for some time, not, likely, until we have a vaccine.”

Louisiana is now 10th in the nation for per-capita cases of COVID-19. At worst, the state was second in the nation for that number.

According to guidelines laid out by the White House and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), here’s what changes under Phase Two of reopening:

  • You should still practice social distancing. Under Phase Two, the CDC recommends still distancing yourself from other people and avoiding social gatherings of more than 50 people.
  • Vulnerable people (the elderly, people with underlying health conditions, people with compromised immune systems) should continue to shelter in place.
  • Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals are still not allowed.
  • Non-essential travel can resume.
  • Schools, day cares, camps and other “organized youth activities” can reopen.
  • Restaurant dining rooms, movie theaters, sports venues and places of worship can reopen under “moderate” social distancing protocols.
  • Gyms can reopen under strict social distancing and sanitation protocols.
  • Elective surgical procedures can resume (already allowed in Louisiana under Phase One)