Governor Edwards expected to discuss details of gradual reopening, Monday
BATON ROUGE – The governor has extended many aspects of the stay at home order until May 15, adding fifteen days to some restrictions set to expire Friday.
The governor said there were still areas of Louisiana where hospitalizations and coronavirus rates had not dropped to comfortable levels eyed by state health experts.
The so-called Phase 1 reopening plan is set to begin May 16 after the extended order expires. Phase 1 will allow retailers, personal care businesses and places of worship to open at 25% occupancy. The governor said he wanted to get those details out in an announcement Monday (4/27) to give facility managers time to prepare.
Dine-in restaurants may be allowed to reopen with restrictions on May 16 but requirements were still being worked out. The governor said more details about Phase 1 reopening plans will come in the next two weeks.
Gyms and fitness centers were not disclosed in preliminary plans for a partial reopening on May 16.
Although, Louisiana will remain mostly restricted from May 1 to May 15 as the current stay at home order was essentially extended but with some easements beginning Friday, May 1: Including allowing outdoor dining at eateries with limitations and some retail business.
Public-facing employees at businesses where interaction with customers is required must wear face masks.
About restaurants with outdoor seating, the governor said diners can dine outside but with no table service – meaning customers will purchase and pickup food at restaurants’ to-go counters and be allowed to dine outside. Customers should not expect to interact with a traditional restaurant server outside.
Additionally, malls will be able to offer curb-side retail starting Friday (May 1).
Gatherings remain limited to ten people.
Face mask requirements for public-facing employees, outdoor dining clearance and curb-side retail begin Friday, May 1.
Medical procedures were allowed to restart Monday, April 27.
The governor cautioned reopening the state will still not be a return to how things were before COVID-19 crippled communities.
“We’re not going back to normal until such time as there’s a vaccine that’s available for everybody,” Edwards said previously. “We don’t know when that’s going to be ... In fact, they’re saying it’s not going to come in all likelihood until some time in 2021.”
The governor said as restrictions are eased, people with chronic health conditions and senior citizens should still exercise strict caution in leaving home.
Of those groups of people, the governor said: "When we do that phased re-opening, it will always be very clear that we are encouraging people that know they are more vulnerable than others, either because of age or because of these chronic health conditions, and you know what they are - hypertension, kidney disease, heart disease, obesity, respiratory illnesses and so forth - that they always exercise more caution. So, when you have limitations on crowd size, for example, that limitation is for someone who is relatively young and healthy, and it really doesn't apply to those people in those most vulnerable categories. They're going to have to be more cautious."
Edwards has made this thought numerous times: “We’re going to have a different way of life.”
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