Louisiana Begins To Reopen On Friday

Today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana would begin the Phase 1 reopening on Friday which would reopen most businesses in the state, but with reduced capacity. In addition, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced that New Orleans would reopen on Saturday.

From Baton Rouge Business Report:

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced today that Louisiana’s restaurants, gyms, and hair salons will be able to resume limited operations beginning Friday, when the state officially moves into the first phase of a staged reopening from the COVID-19 crisis.

Bars that don’t serve food, tattoo and massage parlors, amusement parks, and other large event venues will remain closed through at least June 5.

Businesses that will be allowed to reopen must follow safety protocols that will limit the number of customers allowed inside to no more than 25%.

What exactly will be allowed to open? From Fox 8:

  • Churches will be able to conduct indoor service at 25% of their Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal (LAOSFM) capacity, with continued allowance for additional outdoor seating with LAOSFM guidance on social distancing. In line with this, indoor funerals and weddings may resume indoor at 25% capacity of the building and may continue outdoor services with no crowd size limitation as long as social distancing is practiced.
  • All non-CISA and non-closed businesses will be able to be open to the public at 25% of their LAOSFM capacity
  • Restaurants, coffee shops, and cafés will be able to be open to the public for indoor table service at 25% of their LAOSFM capacity, with continued allowance for additional outdoor seating with LAOSFM guidance on social distancing
  • Bars that hold an LDH food service certificate will be able to do to-go or takeout and delivery of food and alcohol and dine-in seating in line with LAOSFM guidance on social distancing for restaurants, with no more than 25% of their LAOSFM capacity. No on-site consumption will be allowed if not seated at LAOSFM approved seating.
  • Gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to be open to the public at 25% of their capacity. LAOSFM and LDH will be issuing guidance on social distancing and sanitization.
  • Anchor stores of shopping malls with exterior doors accessible by the public will be allowed to be open to the public at 25% of their LAOSFM capacity. Interior mall stores can continue to offer their goods for sale to the public for curbside delivery only.
  • Movie theaters may be open to the public at 25% of their LAOSFM capacity, with new guidance from SFM and LDH on social distancing and sanitation
  • Casinos and video poker may be open in line with guidance from Gaming Control Board and the Louisiana Racing Commission and at no more than 25% of their capacity and gaming positions. Racetracks may open for races without spectators only if approved by the Louisiana Racing Commission.
  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums may be open to the public at 25% of their capacity, with no organized tours and no tactile exhibits. Children’s museums remain closed.
  • Barbers, hair salons, and nail salons may be open to the public at 25% of their capacity with LAOSFM guidance on social distancing
  • Massage establishments, spas, tattoo parlors, and all other places of public amusement from 52 JBE 2020 remain closed

LABI President Stephen Waguespack issued a statement:

“We are glad to see Louisiana begin the process of getting back to work. A closed economy is a broken economy and the economic ramifications of the last month are now obvious to everyone: the highest unemployment levels since the Great Depression, revenue collection shortfalls for government at all levels, Main Street businesses across the state fighting off bankruptcy, working parents doubling as teachers and employees nervous for their future. Now, begins the hard part of rebuilding consumer confidence, helping small businesses stay afloat, keeping the jobs we have and attracting the new ones we desperately need. It will take an Apollo-like mission to save this economy, on the part of our legislature, governor and regulators, to rethink both new and chronic challenges to economic opportunity. We stand ready to work with all policymakers across the state to collaborate on the best ways tackle this enormous challenge and help Louisiana come back stronger than ever.”
The Pelican Insitute also issued a statement:

“For the last month, the Pelican Institute has urged Louisiana leaders to begin implementing the federal government’s Phase 1 guidelines to reopen the state’s economy. While we feel this has dragged on longer than necessary, we are encouraged to see state leaders prioritizing the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Louisianans and their families. This is a first step toward addressing the two major crises we currently face – COVID-19’s public health threat and crippling economic effects – but we’ll need long-term, structural changes to truly rebound and get Louisiana working.

Now that session is back at the Capitol, lawmakers need to act quickly and boldly to remove some of the biggest barriers to jobs and opportunity in our state. Solutions for our corrupt and broken budget process, our job-killing legal climate, and many other policy areas are more critical than ever, which is why we released our Get Louisiana Working Policy Solutions two weeks ago. We ask all Louisianans to join us in pushing for the fundamental changes we desperately need now.”

Governor Edwards during his press conference said that Phase 2 will be three weeks from now on June 5. He will make the announcement on whether or not to proceed to Phase 2 on June 1.



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