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    Stay-at-home order continues until May 15

    Everyone in Louisiana should wear masks when in public; Next announcement will be May 11

    Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Louisiana’s Stay at Home order will extend until May 15 to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. Louisiana does not currently meet the White House criteria for entering Phase One of reopening.

    While Louisiana has seen positive, improving trends statewide in terms of new case growth and new hospitalizations, in several regions across the state, new cases and hospitalizations continue to increase or to plateau, according to data from the Louisiana Department of Health. The White House criteria calls for declining numbers of new cases and hospitalizations, among other things.

    “Thanks to the commitment of the people of Louisiana, our state has made progress in flattening the curve and reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus. Unfortunately, we still have a little work to do before we meet the criteria to safely move to the next phase of reopening, so I will extend the state’s Stay at Home order until May 15, with a few minor changes,” Edwards said Monday, April 27. “While this is not the announcement I want to make, I am hopeful, and all of Louisiana should be hopeful, that we will enter into the next phase of reopening soon, in mid-May. I am anxious to get all areas of our economy reopened, but if we accelerate too quickly, we may have to slam on the brakes. That will be bad for public health and for businesses, bad for our people and bad for our state.”Unknown

    Edwards’ decision is based on regional data that shows that while overall new cases and hospitalizations have decreased, this is not the case in several regions. In the Baton Rouge and Monroe regions, both new cases and new hospitalizations have increased. Some increases are also being seen in terms of new cases in Acadiana and a plateau for hospitalizations in Southwest Louisiana and a plateau of new cases on the Northshore.

    Click here to view the Governor’s presentation on regional data trends.
    Under the extended order, which will be issued on Friday, May 1, businesses that previously were directed to be closed will remain closed, including salons, barber shops, bars and casinos, among other things. Businesses that are deemed essential under the third phase of federal CISA guidance may still be open. Non-essential retail businesses in Louisiana continue to be able to open with fewer than 10 people total inside.

    Three major changes in the new Stay at Home order include:

    • Malls will remain closed to the public, but stores may open for curbside delivery.
    • Restaurants will be allowed to open their outside areas for patrons to eat meals only, without tableside service.
    • All employees of a business who have contact with the public must wear a mask.
    • Additionally, both the CDC and the Louisiana Department of Health strongly urge everyone to wear masks when in public.

    “Wearing cloth masks or protective face coverings is part of the new normal,” Gov. Edwards said. “Wearing a mask is being a good neighbor and in Louisiana, we pride ourselves on being good neighbors. Your mask protects me and other people and my mask protects you.”

    Hopefully, Louisiana will meet the White House criteria and move to Phase 1 on May 15, provided symptoms, new case counts and hospitalizations decrease and the state continues to surge testing and contact tracing capacity. Phase 1 lifts the Stay at Home order and eases restrictions on some public spaces like houses of worship and restaurants and opens other businesses that have been closed such as barber shops and salons, but with restrictions on occupancy and strict requirements for personal distancing and masks to keep everyone safe. Phase One occupancy for these businesses will be limited to 25 percent.

    As Louisiana prepares for its next phase of reopening, business owners and faith leaders are encouraged to plan as well, including understanding their building’s maximum occupancy limits, which may require contacting local government or the State Fire Marshal’s office. They should also plan on ensuring their employees have masks.

    Edwards intends to make his next announcement on moving to Phase 1 in Louisiana on or by May 11. Members of the public can continue to get information from the Governor’s office on coronavirus.la.gov and by texting LACOVID to 67283.

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    N.O mayor issues stay home mandate in response to COVID-19

    New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell today issued a Stay Home Mandate, a guidance document from the City Health Department that takes its legal force from the proclamation issued on Monday of this week.

    “We are hereby mandating that residents stay home whenever possible, going out only for critical needs. We are telling our people and our businesses to stay home. The more people who stay at home, the more lives that we will save,” said Cantrell. “Don’t look for ways for the rule to not apply to you. Do not look for ways to be an exception. Stay home. If there are any gray areas, err on the side of caution. Stay home.”

    (Read the guidance and mandates here.)

    In consultation with the New Orleans Health Department, Cantrell issued the following restrictions:

    • All residents and visitors to the City of New Orleans should take personal responsibility to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, including but not limited to, avoiding gatherings, and remaining in their homes unless performing essential functions;
    • Individuals should maintain at least six feet from other individuals, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid shaking hands;
    • Essential service providers should comply with social distancing guidelines and continue to operate;
    • For employers in the City of New Orleans that do not provide essential business or government services, take all steps reasonably necessary for employees to work remotely from home;
    • Businesses not considered essential service providers should have the least number of staff on premises necessary to continue basic operations and must fully comply with social distancing requirements as set forth;
    • Individuals are prohibited from engaging in gatherings, even in outdoor parks and spaces;
    • Restaurants are prohibited from seating patrons at tables or bars, and are further requested to provide curbside carry-out and/or delivery services only, with gatherings prohibited on site. This includes outdoor tables and courtyards.
    • Movement around the City should be restricted to only that necessary for travel to and from authorized work environments, accessing essential services, and for personal recreation (i.e. walking, hiking, and running), with strict adherence to social distancing guidelines.

    The mandate also provided more detailed examples of what qualifies businesses and services as “essential,” and reiterated the need for closings of bars, gyms/fitness centers, shopping centers, live performance venues, reception facilities, art studios, and indoor amusement facilities.

    The mandate concludes with the following paragraph:

    “Mayor Cantrell has declared a state of emergency to exist in New Orleans via proclamation on March 11, 2020 and has imposed orders subject to these penalty provisions in her March 16, 2020 Proclamation. These emergency orders will be strictly enforced, and compliance is of the utmost importance.”

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