Sens. Kennedy and Cassidy, Gov. Edwards weigh in on what’s next for opening up Louisiana’s economy

President unveils plan to reopen country, but La. not first on that list

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - President Donald Trump has tapped Sens. Bill Cassidy, MD, and John Kennedy to serve on his task force of lawmakers focused on getting the country’s economy back up and running.

It’s a 3 phase proposal to get Americans back to work in the coming weeks.

“If we leave the Louisiana economy shut down until we have a vaccine, there won’t be any economy to come back to,” said Senator Kennedy.

Senators Kennedy and Cassidy will join Steve Scalise, on President Trump’s bipartisan task force focused on reopening the economy in the wake of the new coronavirus.

“It’s going to open the economy in phases. At all phases, it would suggest that we continue social distancing, that we wear masks, we will use technology to try to track hot spots. Our health care delivery system has built up capacity, so we know we're in a better position to handle it,” said Senator Kennedy.

The plan includes workplace measures like temperature checks, social distancing, protective equipment, and disinfection.

“The President made it very clear that he is going to defer to the governors as to when each particular governor thinks it’s appropriate to open up the economy in his or her state,” said Kennedy.

“We know COVID doesn’t go away on May first. And if we’re not smart, and if people just want to get back to life as normal, and they ignore everything that we’re putting out, then you know you do go back to one of these trajectories where we do not want to be,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards.

The Governor also spoke with the President and his coronavirus task force Thursday, April 16. Edwards says he’s still working through the exact plan as to how the state can partially open back up.

“That’s why things are not going to look just like they did before. Occupancy limits in various establishments will be reduced. You’re going to see people wearing PPE. You’re going to see social distancing. We’re going to require that people stay home if they are sick,” said Gov. Edwards.

The governor says it’s also important testing throughout the state increases so that residents can find out sooner when someone has COVID-19, then do the contact tracing necessary to isolate those people they may have come in contact with.

“I’m thankful for President Trump’s leadership and that he takes wisdom from many places. My home state has the President and his administration to thank for crucial help as we fight the coronavirus. It’s an honor to be part of a team that will help resuscitate our economy and put our people back to work because American innovation and elbow grease are how we guarantee a future that’s brighter than ever,” said Kennedy.

Meanwhile, Sen. Cassidy previously served on the health task force that developed the approximately $2 trillion CARES Act, which passed in March.

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“Americans are ready to go back to work. We must ensure that this is done safely and in accordance with best available public health information. I’m looking forward to working with President Trump to rebuild the American economy,” said Dr. Cassidy, whose background as a physician includes work with public health and immunizations.

Cassidy has been advocating for a system of reopening the country in which citizens voluntarily take an antibody test to determine if they have immunity to COVID-19. Such a system, he says, would be able to identify those people that can safely return to work. Cassidy has written two articles for the Wall Street Journal about his ideas for tracking coronavirus immunity. They can be read here and here.

Click here to read the president’s full plan to reopen the economy.

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