Gov. Edwards still weighing options for future stay-at-home order

Gov. Edwards COVID-19 news conference Monday, April 13
Gov. Edwards COVID-19 news conference Monday, April 13
Updated: Apr. 15, 2020 at 2:36 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said Wednesday, April 15 the state is “moving in the right direction” in its fight against coronavirus.

Edwards said a decreasing number of hospitalizations due to the virus is evidence that his stay-at-home order is working.

The governor made his comments during his monthly radio interview on WRKF radio. Multiple callers thanked the governor for his leadership during this crisis.

“Your leadership is appreciated by me and many members of my family,” a caller from Baton Rouge told him.

Edwards said he has not yet decided what steps will be taken after his current stay-at-home order ends on April 30.

However, he said the state’s short-term future will include a lot of people wearing gloves and masks and plenty of required temperature checks.

ONE-STOP-SHOP: Everything you need to know related to Baton Rouge area impact of COVID-19

The governor said he will need to balance “public health and safety on one hand with re-engaging the economy and getting people back to work on the other” in deciding what to do after April 30.

He says the public will be informed of any changes to the order “several days before” the current one ends.

The current order, among other things, prohibits gatherings of more than ten people, limits restaurants to take-out or delivery only, and has shut down places like health clubs, hair salons, and most retail stores.

He added that when restaurants are allowed to reopen, owners will likely have to initially reduce their number of tables so there will be more distance between each customer.

Edwards said Louisiana had the fourth fastest-growing economy in the country prior to the outbreak. “Obviously, that’s not the case today,” he said.

“There’s no doubt, this is a very tough time for our state,” he said. “It’s a very tough time for families.” He added the state is doing as much as it can to provide assistance to families and businesses.

The governor noted the negative impact the virus is having on tourism, a large part of the Louisiana economy. “We can all agree, I think, that until we have the virus in check, we’re not going to have people coming (to Louisiana).”

Dr. Alex Billioux, assistant secretary of Louisiana’s Office of Public Health, was a guest on the radio program. Billoux says, until we have a vaccine, there will be many decisions people will have to make about their risks of catching the virus or spreading it to others.

The doctor said it will likely be “sometime in 2021” before a vaccine is available.

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