State leaders eye transitioning back to life, but concerns lock NOLA down longer
BATON ROUGE – State leaders are working on a plan about what aspects of regular life – and the state economy – can return on May 1st, the day after the current stay at home order is set to expire.
“We’re planning for a transition, come May 1st,” the governor said in a radio show he hosts Wednesday. Though, he cautioned it will not be “back to normal,” and echoed remarks he’s made over the last few days: Life will be slow and methodical amid ongoing concerns of a possible second spike in coronavirus cases.
"I can tell you social distancing is going to be a part of our future for some period of time," Edwards said. "Wearing a mask when you're out in public and going to be in close proximity to other people is going to be part of what we do. Staying home when you're sick is going to be part of what we do. I think you're going to have your temperature taken more than it's ever been taken."
The stay at home order is set to run through April 30.
Right now, the state is discussing how to open certain aspects of the economy either statewide or within certain regions and which of the restrictions mandated in the stay at home order would be maintained. The governor said he and other state leaders will have a video conference with President Trump Thursday discuss what the country will look like going into May.
Edwards previously suggested people should be prepared for a "transition period" once the state can gain control of COVID-19.
"What that announcement looks like is going to depend in large part on where our case count is on that date and whether our rate of spread has continued to decline or gotten larger," Edwards has said.
He, and others, have continuously stressed the need to strictly follow sheltering mandates for the next two or three weeks.
"If we stop doing those things too soon, we're going to see a spike again and be right back where we don't want to be," Edward said."
Tuesday, Edwards said he believed one of the first moves toward reopening the economy would be to allow non-essential medical procedures after they were halted over concerns for healthcare staffing and personal protection equipment.
"We've got things that are non-emergency like somebody needs a knee replacement [and] you can only put things off for so long," Edwards said. "So that is a sector of the economy, if you will, that is directly related to healthcare, that we're looking to see if we can open that up sooner rather than later."
As more businesses reopen, Edwards said a key ingredient will be the need for wide space between people: "If we're trying to facilitate social distancing, then it doesn't make sense to go back to the same occupancy limits for places like restaurants and so forth," Edwards said. "Those are the sorts of things we're working through."
Edwards said he does not anticipate what was once considered "regular life" to return until a vaccine is widely available.
The governor said when specific plans are reached, he expects to reveal them a few days before the April 30 end to the current stay at home order.
Wednesday, The mayor of New Orleans extended the stay at home order there until May 16. New Orleans has been a hotspot of COVID-19.
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