BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday, Nov. 24 that tighter COVID-19 restrictions will be put in place for the state as cases continue to climb.
Gov. Edwards says the state will revert to a revised Phase 2, with some modifications, so it will not look exactly like Phase 2 did over the summer, but it will be more restrictive than the current Phase 3. The governor signed a new executive order Tuesday afternoon, which will go into effect Wednesday, Nov. 25 and last for 28 days. The order will expire Dec. 23, however, the restrictions could be extended, the governor says.
Employers, both public and private, are encouraged to maximize the use of tele-work. Families are also asked to limit holiday and other gatherings.
This comes after a recent sharp increase in hospitalizations from the virus. The governor’s office says hospitalizations have climbed back up to more than 1,000 people, which is the highest level since August. According to the most recent report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Louisiana had 474 new cases per 100,000 people the week of Nov. 16, while the national average was 356 cases per 100,000 people.
MODIFIED PHASE 2 RESTRICTIONS
- Mask mandate remains in effect, as well as social distancing guidelines
- All Louisianans are encouraged to avoid gatherings of individuals not part of their households
- All businesses, private, and public sectors, are encouraged to use remote work where they can
- All restaurants are limited to 50% of their indoor capacity. Restaurants should move as much dining outdoors as they can. Social distancing is required.
- Bars in parishes above 5% positivity are closed to indoor sales and consumption, but open for outdoor consumption at tables only and at 25% capacity, with a maximum of 50 people. Social distancing is required. Takeout and delivery will still be available.
- Retail businesses at 50% capacity, except for essential businesses, as defined by federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
- Gyms may be open at 50% capacity
- Places of worship will remain at a maximum of 75% capacity or the number of people who can physically distance with at least six feet between each immediate household. The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal will put out additional COVID-19 mitigation measures to make services safer.
- Barber and beauty shops, and nail salons may open at 50% capacity
- Movie theaters may open at 50% capacity
- Indoor gatherings at event/receptions centers are limited to 25% capacity or up to 75 people
- Outdoor gatherings at event/reception centers are limited to 25% capacity or up to 150 people when strict physical distancing is not possible
- All sporting events will be capped at 25% capacity
“There is not a single region of our state that is not seeing increases in new cases, hospitalizations, and growing positivity of COVID tests, and I am incredibly concerned by Louisiana’s trajectory and our ability to continue to deliver healthcare to our people if our hospitals are overrun with sick patients,” Gov. Edwards said. “The data clearly tells us that we have lost all of the gains we had made and that our current mitigation efforts must be increased in order to adequately slow the spread. Now is the time to make changes, and stepping back to guidelines that closely resemble our Phase 2 restrictions is a tough but necessary step to take in order to protect the public.”
Click here for more details about the modified Phase 2 restrictions.
“It is absolutely vital that Louisianans take this third surge of COVID seriously. While there is hopeful news about the development of an effective vaccine, the reality is that we are several months away from being able to widely vaccinate the general population in our state. This virus is with us and we must continue all of the mitigation measures including wearing a mask and social distancing in order to stay safe. All of us working together can slow the spread of COVID and flatten the curve – indeed, we already have twice. We now have more than 1,000 patients in the hospital with COVID, wiping out months of progress and leaving our hospitals in a perilous place,” Gov. Edwards said.
Click here for more details about bar closures.
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