You Can Get Excited About This Phase 3 Announcement If You Want…

…but we would caution that you really ought to wait for the fine print.

The Phase 3 announcement this morning coming out of Gov. John Bel Edwards is pure politics. We’ll explain below.

Governor John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana will move to Phase 3 starting Friday, Sept. 11.

The announcement was made during a news conference Thursday. Gov. Edwards noted that more details regarding what Phase Three will include will be announced Friday.

Gov. Edwards did reveal that the mask mandate will remain in place during Phase Three.

Louisiana has been in Phase Two since June 5 and Edwards closed bars for on-premises consumption and mandated masks statewide July 13. Edwards has indicated his statewide mask mandate is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future, regardless of the phase of reopening the state is in.

The state has seen a steady decline in the percentage of positive tests since the mask mandate in mid-July, leading to a drop in hospitalizations.

The White House’s recommendations for Phase Three of reopening the economy allow expanded seating at restaurants and expanded visitation at nursing homes. Almost everyone would be encouraged to return to work.

Phase Three guidelines also include bars and gyms, however the governor may choose to keep some restrictions in place.

In a letter to House Speaker Clay Schexnayder and Senate President Paige Cortez, there were some nuggets which shed light on what this really is…

Today at the Governor’s press conference at 10:30, he will be announcing that the state will be moving into Phase 3.  With all of the new variables thrown into the mix – students returning to the classroom, Hurricane Laura recovery, and Labor Day weekend, this was a very difficult decision because we do not know what impact these variables will have on the number of cases, percent positivity, or hospitalizations we have in the coming weeks.  With that being said, please continue to encourage your constituents to exercise mitigation measures including face coverings, social distancing, and frequent hand washing so that we don’t backslide and have to reverse course and go back to more restrictive mitigation measures.

We are still hammering out the fine details of Phase 3, which will not be covered at the press conference today, but will be included in the briefing tomorrow.  We will get that information to you as soon as it is finalized.  As always, we would ask that you and your members keep this information confidential until after the governor’s press conference.  If you have any questions, please let us know.

Difficult decision? Seriously?

The state’s COVID numbers have fallen off a cliff for the last month. In no way, shape or form was there ever any reason to believe the healthcare system is in danger of being overwhelmed, which was the standard informing these shutdowns in the first place.

The current bait-and-switch is that it’s about case counts, not hospitalizations.

But the biggest reason to consider that this is political is that Edwards announces Phase 3, and takes credit for “reopening” the state’s economy today, but doesn’t announce what’s actually included in Phase 3 until tomorrow.

That’s a Friday data dump, of course. People will be turning off from the news cycle by the time he announces what the John Bel Edwards version of Phase 3 contains.

Relaxation of his mask mandate? Not on your life.

Reopening those bars he’s unconstitutionally closed down? Doubtful.

Churches reopened? Not really.

The guess here is you’ll see marginal, at best, changes to your life and livelihood coming out of this announcement tomorrow. The COVID misery will remain.

What this actually means is Edwards needs some sort of relief valve. The recall effort against him, which admittedly is a long-shot prospect – Louisiana has never had a statewide official taken out in a recall – is considerably stronger than anyone expected, and in fact it’s gaining sufficient momentum that we’re hearing stories about threatening phone calls going out to businesses which have volunteered their premises for the recall organizers to take signatures. There’s that, and there is the continuing slow burn in the legislature, where with only eight more House members signing on make the emergency declaration go away.

You’ve got to fight for your right to party. Edwards isn’t going to give it back to you. Just wait and see.



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