FAQ: Questions related to Louisiana’s Phase 1 of reopening

FAQ: Questions related to Louisiana’s Phase 1 of reopening
Gov. Edwards gives COVID update Monday, March 30

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The information below was provided by the Louisiana Office of the Governor. If you have additional questions, you can call 211.

Is the state still under a Stay-at-Home order?

On Monday, May 11, Gov. Edwards announced that the state will no longer be under a stay-at-home order effective Friday, May 15. High risk individuals should continue to stay at home, except for essential activities, like getting food or medical care.

“Louisianans who are at high risk of dying from COVID-19, including the elderly, residents of long-term care facilities and those with poor control of certain illnesses, should continue to stay at home and only leave their homes only for essential reasons, like seeking medical care, going to an essential job or getting food.”

The initial stay-at-home order took effect on Monday, March 23. On April 2, Gov. Edwards extended his stay-at-home order until April 30. On Monday, April 27, Gov. Edwards extended the order again.

How long will Phase 1 last?

Phase 1 will remain in effect for 21 days starting on May 15. Gov. Edwards will reassess whether to stay in Phase 1 or to move to Phase 2 as we approach the end of that period, which is June 5. He plans to make an announcement about potentially move to the next phase on June 1.

Why is Louisiana entering Phase 1 of reopening?

Louisiana meets the statewide threshold criteria from the White House related to declining COVID-like symptoms, new cases and hospitalizations. In addition, testing and contact tracing are ramping up, which further supports the decision to go to Phase 1.

What businesses are open during Phase 1?

All non-essential Phase 1 businesses and churches will be limited to 25% of their total occupancy, which meets the White House Guidance for Phase 1 that calls for “strict” social distancing measures. All Phase 1 businesses and churches must have their employees who deal with the public in face coverings or cloth masks and enforce social distancing.

The 25% occupancy rate is based on the advice of public health officials who recommend that people generally have 110 square feet around them. This occupancy capacity includes customers and employees.

The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal and the Louisiana Department of Health will continue issuing guidance to different types of businesses about Phase 1 in the coming days, in order to ensure that businesses and churches can safely operate to the maximum level allowed in Phase 1. Business owners and faith leaders can register at OpenSafely.la.gov to receive this guidance.

With the exception of gaming establishments, no church leader or business owner is required to register or to get approval of their opening plans in advance. Registering for the Open Safely site is not required to reopen, but it’s encouraged as it will allow businesses and churches to get the latest information quickly.

Phase 1 guidance will allow essential businesses, as defined by CISA, to remain open. Non-essential businesses (sometimes called “gray area” businesses) and places of worship may remain open at 25% of their occupancy. All business owners should read the order to understand which category their business falls into.

New types of businesses that may open beginning May 15 with 25% occupancy limits, sanitation guidelines, and spacing for physical distancing include:

  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Barber shops and hair and nail salons
  • Casinos and video poker establishments
  • Theaters
  • Racetracks (not open to spectators)
  • Museums, zoos, aquariums (no tactile exhibits)
  • Bars and breweries with LDH food permits

What businesses remain closed?

  • Massage establishments and spas
  • Tattoo parlors
  • Carnivals
  • Amusement parks
  • Water parks
  • Trampoline parks
  • Arcades
  • Fairs
  • Bars and breweries without LDH food permits
  • Pool halls
  • Contact sports
  • Children’s play centers
  • Playgrounds
  • Theme parks
  • Adult entertainment venues and other similar businesses

Will state buildings reopen?

State buildings will begin to be open to the public May 15 at 25% occupancy and state agencies are directed to continue to bring more state employees back to work in person, with proper distancing and protections in place.

What can you do during Phase 1?

  • Go to the grocery, convenience, or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
  • Go to a restaurant for takeout, delivery, or drive-thru
  • Care for or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog, and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others.
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies
  • Receive deliveries from any business which delivers

What is restricted?

YOU SHOULD NOT

  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites

Who is considered an essential worker?

Under the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the following individuals are considered essential workers:

  • Healthcare workers and caregivers
  • Mental health and Social Service workers
  • Pharmacy employees
  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies, and other retail sales of food and beverage products
  • Restaurant carryout and quick-serve food operations and food delivery employees
  • Farm workers
  • Electricity and utility industry employees
  • Critical manufacturing employees (medical supply chains, energy, transportation, food, chemicals)
  • Petroleum, natural and propane gas workers
  • Transportation and logistics workers
  • Communications and information technology employees

What businesses and jobs are considered essential?

Healthcare workers, public safety employees, some government workers, staff of grocery stores and restaurants, and employees of some business are generally considered essential workers. Businesses like manufacturers and utilities have to continue operations to support our communities.

In general, the State of Louisiana follows guidance from the federal Cyber security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) about what infrastructure and businesses are “critical” during the COVID-19 outbreak. For more detailed information from CISA, click here.

When is it okay for me to leave my home?

People can leave their homes to do things like buy groceries or food, pick up medicine, or go to work if their job is essential. If you have to go out, make sure you practice social distancing measures and keep 6 feet between you and the people around you. Also, people are encouraged to go outside and to stay active during this time, as long as they practice social distancing when they are around their neighbors.

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