With Coronavirus cases rising in Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards says the state must go back to phase two, but a modified phase two.
The revised restrictions will go into effect on Wednesday and last at least 28 days until December 23.
Edwards says for the first week in many, Louisiana has more COVID-19 cases than the national average. He’s calling this a “dangerous time” for Louisiana. Although going back to phase two is not something the Governor or anyone else in the state wants, Edwards believes it’s needed to help flatten the curve.
Victoria Urrutia, a bartender at the Swamp Room in Metairie said rolling back to phase two is a stiff shot not only for bars, but customers as well.
“Nobody wants to be that person that’s like hey, you know make sure you’re still wearing your mask or please sit down,” Urrutia said.
Edwards says the state will do what’s necessary to make sure his order is followed.
“If the people of Louisiana insist we enforce our way through this, we’re doomed to failure,” Edwards said. “We’re going to ask people to comply, we’re going to do compliance visits and we’re going to respond to complaints.”
Urrutia says she and her coworkers have faced many challenging days amid the pandemic.
“We have our days where we’re like this is just awful, I can’t wait for it to go back to normal, but our managers support us,” Urrutia said. “They say we have to do this, this is not an option. We have to be safe and a strong hold for the community if we slip, everyone slips.”
Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate remains in place. Major changes to Louisiana’s COVID-19 restrictions include the below:
- All Louisianans are encouraged to avoid gatherings of individuals not part of their households.
- All businesses, private and public sectors, are encouraged to use remote work where they can.
- All restaurants are limited to 50% of their indoor capacity. Restaurants should move as much dining outdoors as they can. Social distancing is required.
- For bars in parishes above 5% positivity, bars are closed to indoor sales and consumption but open for outdoor consumption at tables only and at 25% capacity, with a maximum of 50 people. Social distancing is required. Take-out and delivery will still be available.
- Retail businesses at 50% capacity, except for essential businesses, as defined by federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
- Gyms may be open at 50% of their capacity.
- Places of worship will remain at a maximum of 75% of their capacity or the number of people who can physically distance with at least six feet between each immediate household. The State Fire Marshal will put out additional COVID mitigation measures to make services safer.
- Barber and beauty shops, and nail salons may open at 50% of their capacity.
- Movie theaters may open at 50% of their capacity.
- Indoor gatherings at event/receptions centers are limited to 25% capacity or up to 75 individuals.
- Outdoor gatherings at event/reception centers are limited to 25% capacity or up to 150 individuals when strict physical distancing is not possible.
- All sporting events will be capped at 25% capacity.
Edwards said, “When it comes to the economy, businesses and to employers and employees, to livelihoods, the best thing we can do is to put this virus behind us.”
The Governor is concerned hospital capacity will become an issue with the recent surge. He says healthcare workers are already strained and seeing an influx of flu cases. Edwards maintains now is the time to act while Louisiana is in lockstep with the rest of the nation.