Governor Edwards Returns Louisiana to Phase 2
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards swooped in just before the Thanksgiving holiday to bring more COVID-19 related restrictions to the state. Residents and businesses owners may have to make changes to their holiday plans because of it. "Because of the trajectory we’ve been on... It is imperative we take action and we take action now,” Edwards said.
At today's press conference, The Governor said that we will be going back to a 'modified' Phase 2 and will go into effect tomorrow. The new order will stay in place for 28 days. Edwards said any kind of public gathering (with some exceptions) will be limited to 75 people indoors and 150 outdoors. Restaurants, retailers and other businesses will move from 75% to 50% occupancy. Bars in parishes with over 5% test positivity must close to indoor consumption unless they have a restaurant conditional permit, in which case they can operate at 50%.
When it comes to sports, there's also some new restrictions. LSU will still be allowed to host up to 25% capacity at home football games. Capacities at high school football stadiums, however, will be reduced from 50% capacity to 25%.
Churches and places of worship will remain at 75%.
At this time, Edwards is not forcing schools to return to virtual learning. He's leaving that up to local school districts. However, cyber learning and telework for adults is strongly encouraged by the Governor's office and state health officials.
The Governor said that if we don't improve, there's a chance more restrictions could be put in place. He also intimated that we should not expect things to open any time soon, saying that we're in for a 'rough 2 or 3 months'. Edwards said that residents should avoid Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas parties and other types of gatherings with people not outside of your immediate household.
Louisiana has been in "Phase 3" of the reopening process, even though it's clearly been established that the state will not open any further than that. The only changes that have been anticipated have all been along the lines of tighter restrictions.
Across the country, other states are moving into heavier restrictions. In New York, on Staten Island (population 474,101) there have been 91 people hospitalized for COVID-19, so Governor Andrew Cuomo has moved to bring heavier restrictions, including shutting down indoor dining and creating "field hospitals".
In Michigan, they have averaged over 7,000 new cases a day (Louisiana has been around 2,000 daily for the last couple weeks, with some dates including backlogged data) and their Governor Gretchen Whitmer has said non-essential employees must remain home for three weeks, indoor dining is banned, and casinos/theaters/stadiums/arenas are all shut down as well.