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Governor discusses plan to reopen Louisiana after meeting with President Trump
BATON ROUGE- The state is mapping out a plan for how and when businesses will be able to open their doors again.
However, it is not quite 'business as usual' come May 1 for the state of Louisiana.
"We know COVID-19 doesn't go away on May 1. If we're not smart and people just want to get back to life as normal, and they ignore everything that we're putting out, then you know we go back to a trajectory where we don't want to be," Governor John Bel Edwards said in a press conference Thursday.
Edwards revealed the formation of a new task force that will help make decisions to re-open businesses across the state. However, he expresses plans to do so in a way that will ultimately protect public health.
"That's why things are not going to look just as they did before. Occupancy limits in various establishments will be reduced. You're going to see people wearing personal protection equipment, you're going to see social distancing. We're going to require people to stay home if they are sick."
Testing also plays a critical role in reopening the economy. The Governor says the state is working to increase that capacity.
"This is so that we can find out sooner when someone has COVID-19, then do the contact tracing necessary to isolate those individuals that they've come into contact with. And that's really how you can reopen the economy," Gov. Edwards said.
Governor Edwards discussed plans to reopen the state in a teleconference with President Trump Thursday afternoon.
Those plans consist of three gradual phases.
"These guidelines are going to be very helpful as we move forward and reopen the economy here in Louisiana. It's again not going to look like it did before," Gov. Edwards said at a town hall meeting with The Advocate newspaper.
He believes life will not be the same until a vaccine is created for the virus. Until then, the public is advised to continue to take precautions to protect their health.
"You're going to see a transition, over time, over months, and potentially up to a year or year and a half, whatever that looks like, until we get all the way there, where we're just going to be living in a new normal," Edwards said.
Congressman Steve Scalise joined Governor Edwards during the press conference, saying the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses has run out of money.
There are ongoing negotiations to add more funding in Washington.
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