By now our readers all know that Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a “Safer At Home” or “Stay At Home” order for the entire state of Louisiana, which essentially serves as an execution order for many of the state’s small businesses. This after denying such an order was in the works only a few days earlier. At 5:00 today people are free to hit the grocery store, but not a whole lot else. The economy is more or less on lockdown, and the costs of that are sure to mount.
Which is not to say Louisiana is under martial law. This lockdown is more or less voluntary. You won’t be arrested for being outside of your house. There just won’t be anywhere to go because most everything will be closed. Barber shops, nail salons, small hardware stores, clothing boutiques – they’re all shuttered until April 13 in this current stage of the lockdown.
It’s necessary, Edwards says, because Louisiana has the fastest rate of growth of the Wuhan virus of any place in the world. The source of that claim, he didn’t offer. If John Bel Edwards was Donald Trump, the legacy media would have reported his statement as “Without Evidence, Edwards Claims Fastest Spread On Earth,” and that headline would not have been inaccurate.
Social media is full of people applauding Edwards’ order and thanking him for looking out for the people. But the state’s political leadership is less than convinced this new stage of JBE’s lockdown was a prudent move. Louisiana’s House Speaker Clay Schexnayder put out a statement yesterday which, while polite, clearly reflected a lack of conviction the lockdown is the right move.
“Clearly, the health and welfare of Louisiana citizens comes first and we understand the need for serious action during this unprecedented period. With that said, we can no longer ignore the obvious threat these actions have on the long-term economic survival of our state.
Unfortunately, essentially shutting down businesses without first giving them clear direction and the opportunity to implement sensible health safeguards that allow them to stay open threatens the paycheck that hundreds of thousands of families need to survive. However, the Governor has determined these actions are in the best interest of our citizens.
It is our sincere hope that everyone does their part to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus so that we can move past this period as quickly as possible and return to our normal lives.
As your Speaker, I will continue to work with Senate President Cortez and together we will work with the administration through this crisis. We will be prepared to take extraordinary action when we return to the Capitol for the legislative session.
The Stay At Home Order does NOT apply to the following businesses and individuals:
- Healthcare workers and caregivers
- Mental health and Social Service workers
- Pharmacy employees
- Emergency Services workers
- Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail sales of food and beverage products (including Walmart, Target, Rouse’s, etc. and smaller grocery stores)
- Restaurant carryout and quick-serve food operations and food delivery employees
- Farm workers
- Electricity and Utility Industry employees
- Critical Manufacturing employees (medical supply chains, energy, transportation, food, chemicals)
- Chemical Sector workers
- Commercial Facilities workers
- Petroleum, Natural and Propane Gas workers Transportation and Logistics workers (airports, trucking companies)
- Communications and Information Technology employees
- Financial Services and Banking Industry employees
- Defense Industrial Base employees
- Nuclear plant workers
- Water and Waste Water System employees
The order also does not prohibit travel for food, medicine, or necessary goods or non-elective medical care.”
The thing to remember is that John Bel Edwards has a credibility problem, particularly when it comes to scaring people. He’s the guy who threatened to kill college football over a tax increase he wanted, if you’ll remember, and he sent eviction letters to old people in nursing homes over a miniscule budget cut. And last fall his re-election campaign spread fearmongering rumors about Eddie Rispone, to the tune he would take away everyone’s homestead exemptions, school lunches, food stamps, supplemental pay for cops and firemen and everything else.
So when John Bel Edwards says without evidence that Louisiana has the worst spread of the Wuhan virus in the world, he is not to be automatically believed. Perhaps the bulk of the state’s population doesn’t remember his pattern of statements, but Schexnayder, who has been in the legislature for eight years and has seen Edwards both in the House of Representatives and in the governor’s mansion, knows exactly who John Bel Edwards is and what he’s said and done.
And Clay Schexnayder is clearly not fully on board with Edwards’ lockdown.
That should tell you something.