Louisiana following White House plan for Opening Up America Again
BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the order moving Louisiana to Phase Two of the White House plan for reopening, while cautioning members of the public and businesses to continue to take mitigation measures, like wearing masks when in public, to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 as more people will be interacting with each other.
“I continue to be very proud of the work the people of Louisiana and our health care heroes are doing to slow the spread of COVID-19 and getting us to the point where we can open more businesses and expand the occupancy of others this Friday. In addition, Louisiana has effectively ramped up testing and contact tracing to help identify problem areas and contain the spread,” Gov. Edwards said. “However, the public should not let its guard down. COVID-19 is still a real issue in our communities, and it is still necessary that people wear masks while in public, wash their hands frequently and maintain good social distancing so that we can prevent cases from spiking as we ease restrictions in Phase Two.”
The Governor’s order follows the White House plan for Opening Up America Again. Major changes in Phase Two include allowing churches, places of worship and many more businesses to operate at 50 percent capacity with social distancing, masks for public-facing employees and increased sanitization. In addition, the state strongly recommends that businesses consider offering temperature checks before a person can enter and posting the symptoms of COVID-19 outside with a request that symptomatic individuals not enter.
A second order outlines extensions of legal deadlines and other administrative matters. Some Office of Motor Vehicles and other deadlines remain suspended until July 31. Other legal and administrative deadlines are suspended until June 15, including evictions and foreclosure procedures. Legal prescription remains suspended through July 5.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Health have issued guidance for churches and different types of businesses to help them enter Phase Two in a way that ensures they operate safely and at the maximum level allowed. Business owners and faith leaders can find information at OpenSafely.la.gov.
Phase Two in Louisiana will last at least 21 days. Because more businesses will be open to more patrons and because the CDC has clarified that the illness is most likely to spread through the air and not on surfaces, the Governor and the Louisiana Department of Health strongly encourage individuals to wear masks whenever they are in public and recommend that people who enter businesses that are not taking proper precautions consider the risk to their health and their family in doing so.
OVERVIEW OF BUSINESSES THAT CAN
OPEN ON FRIDAY, JUNE 5:
ν Businesses that will be able to open at 50 percent occupancy include:
ν Restaurants, cafes and coffee shops
ν Shopping malls (including food courts, following restaurant guidance)
ν Gyms and fitness centers
ν Barber and beauty shops and nail salons
ν Movie theaters
ν Racetracks (with an approved plan from the Louisiana Racing Commission)
ν Museums (including children’s museums), zoos, aquariums (no tactile exhibits)
ν Bars and breweries with LDH food permits
ν Massage establishments, spas, and tattoo establishments (under strict guidance from LDH), esthetician services (under strict guidance from the Cosmetology Board)
ν Pool halls, bowling alleys and skating rinks (children must be accompanied by an adult)
ν Event Centers and wedding venues
ν Outdoor playgrounds and play centers (children must be accompanied by an adult)
ν Casinos and video poker establishments may open at 50 percent occupancy, but limited to 75 percent of their gaming positions, with spacing to allow for social distancing and with enhanced sanitization. Plans must be submitted to the Gaming Control Board which will issue guidance to these facilities.
ν Bars and breweries that do not have LDH food permits will be able to open with social distancing requirements and patrons seated at 25 percent occupancy.
ν Additional guidance will be released relaxing some regulations for summer camps in Phase Two. Sleep-away camps are not allowed in Phase Two.
The following businesses remain closed: carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, fairs, contact sports, children’s indoor play centers, arcades, trampoline parks, theme parks, concert and music halls, and other similar businesses. Live entertainment is not permitted inside any building or indoor function.
However, any business that is directed to be closed in the Phase Two order may petition to reopen under a plan approved by the State Fire Marshal in consultation with LDH. The State Fire Marshal may approve this plan or offer guidance on how the business may reopen in Phase Three.
The Governor encourages businesses that can allow employees to work remotely to consider doing so, especially if an employee is at high risk for becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 or shares a household with a high risk person.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Business and faith leaders can visit OpenSafely.la.gov to receive guidance and updates from the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Health. Businesses that require approval of reopening plans will be notified by the State Fire Marshal’s Office or the Louisiana Department of Health.
For a guide listing businesses that can be open at any given time, visit gov.louisiana.gov/page/can-this-business-open.
Members of the public can continue to get information from the Governor’s office by visiting Coronavirus.la.gov and by texting LACOVID to 67283.
Members of the public can continue to get information from the Department of Health by visiting ldh.la.gov/coronavirus.
People with general questions about COVID-19 in Louisiana can call 211.