Louisiana moves into phase three, while Orleans Parish guidelines remain the same

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NEW ORLEANS — Two words: phase three.

Governor John Bel Edwards announces that Louisiana is taking a step forward in the fight against the coronavirus.

“We are doing better, and that doesn’t just happen, it happens because people make a conservative conscious effort to change their behavior,” said Governor Edwards.

So, what does this mean for Louisiana? Well, restaurants and most businesses can open at 75% capacity. Bars can open at 50% indoor capacity, if parish data shows less than 5% positivity in covid cases. Event centers can expand to 50% capacity, and live music will be allowed indoors, if state fire marshal guidelines are followed.

New Orleans leaders aren’t changing guidelines just yet, but they say the city is doing its part to get back to normal.

“Last check, the positivity rate was 1.8%, and the last time I was up here three weeks ago, that positivity rate was at 4.4%, so we’ve seen significant progress,” said City of New Orleans’ Director of Communications, Beau Tidwell

This does not mean you should let your guard down. Governor Edwards and local leaders are urging everyone to remain cautious, as variant strains continue to spread through the state, especially in New Orleans.

“More than half of the documented variant cases in the state of Louisiana are from the Orleans region,” said Tidwell.

So, how do we get back to normal, once and for all? Health leaders say getting the vaccine is a critical part.

“After 28 days, post vaccination from a single dose, at 28 days after and onwards, not a single person in these trials that got the vaccine died from covid. Not a single person in these trials who got the vaccine was hospitalized,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, interim Assistant Secretary of Louisiana’s Office of Public Health.

City leaders say the gathering size restrictions won’t change in Orleans Parish. For instance, as churches across the state can fully open, New Orleans churches must remain at 50%. Also, New Orleans sporting events cannot go to 50% capacity, they must remain at 25%.

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