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Gov. Edwards eases capacity restrictions for businesses but warns ‘we’re not out of the woods’

Gov. John Bel Edwards

BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards held a news conference about the state’s response to the coronavirus Tuesday, March 30.

Gov. Edwards announced that he will be lifting capacity limitations for many of the state’s businesses but the statewide mask mandate will remain.

“We did it, because we’ve had a framework for making these decisions since the very beginning. And it’s on the gating criteria in combination with the baseline numbers. But at the end of the day we’re trying to be consistent, to do what we can. To always seek to strike the right balance between lives on the one hand, livelihoods on the other. I think we’ve done that in this case,” said Edwards.

The governor will issue a new proclamation Wednesday, March 31 that will stay in effect until April 28.

Specific capacity limitations for restaurants, bars, gyms, and retail settings will no longer be in place, he said. Bars, in particular, can stay open later than 11 p.m. as long as they adhere to local ordinances.

Bar patrons must still be seated at a socially distanced table, the governor said.

Gov. Edwards said businesses and venues that host large indoor gatherings, like reception halls, will be remain capped at 50% of their capacity, with a maximum gathering size of 500 people.

“At this point in the pandemic, our three best tools for slowing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping our hospitals operational are vaccinations, masks and distance,” Gov. Edwards said. “Right now, we have fewer people hospitalized with COVID-19 than we did this time last year, and we have a greatly improved supply of three highly effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines, which are available to everyone 16 and older in Louisiana. While COVID-19 and its variants remain a major public health risk, using the tools of vaccination, masking and distancing, we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. At least 20 states and one region of Louisiana are experiencing an increase in cases and hospitalizations, likely because of the U.K. variant. We aren’t yet out of the woods.”

Business owners who wish to view the coronavirus mitigation measures deemed necessary by the Louisiana Department of Health and the State Fire Marshal and can on by CLICKING HERE

The governor’s address comes one day after all Louisiana residents 16 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Gov. Edwards also announced Louisiana will soon receive a larger-than-normal shipment of the vaccine, approximately 300,000 doses, from the federal government next week.

“Vaccination is the best way we have to put this pandemic in our rearview mirror. While we work to vaccinate even more of our neighbors, now more than ever it is critical that people wear facemasks when they are in public and keep six feet of social distance between them and anyone who isn’t in their immediate household,” Gov. Edwards said. “Today we are taking an important step forward, but all of us play a role in making sure our cases don’t spike again. Get your vaccine now that it’s your turn and help your friends and family members get their shots as well. Working together, we can bring back Louisiana.”

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