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Livingston Parish closes government building due to spike in COVID cases

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 8:45 AM CDT
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LIVINGSTON, La. (WAFB) - The Livingston Parish Council Office has seen a dramatic uptick in the number of employees who have tested positive for COVID. That’s why Parish President Layton Ricks decided to temporarily close the building. This was not an easy decision for Ricks to make. But it’s what he thought was in the best interest of his employees and their families.

“We’ve had a rapid rate of increase in employees that have tested positive especially in our permitting, planning, and accounting offices which is primarily the ones that deal with the public coming in and out”, said Ricks.

As the president of Livingston parish, Layton Ricks felt it was his responsibility to listen to the doctors and temporarily close the parish council building until the number of infected employees simmers down.

“It’s just a rapid, rapid increase. Um, and it spreads so easily from what all I’m hearing from the doctors. We didn’t know anything else better to do than that”, ricks explained.

The doors were shut at 1:00 this afternoon and will remain closed until Monday August 2, 2021.

“We’ll have an emergency crew at DPW that will be on standby, our inspectors can operate remotely, and then our permitting we’ve made arrangements with the power company so they will be able to get permits, I’m sorry, be able to get hooked up and their power turned on. And then some things like that we can do remotely if it comes down to a new service”, Ricks continued.

Governor Edwards already expressed his concern about the eye-opening numbers once this week.

“Now if there was one cause that we ought to all get behind and make sure that we’re pushing it is to...control this pandemic...is to limit the number of people getting infected, going to the hospital, and dying”, Governor Edwards said in his press conference on Wednesday.

He’ll address the COVID cases again on Friday and that has business owners paying attention.

The owner of Dukes Seafood right off the Denham Springs exit, is worried that could mean going back to limited capacity.

“I hope they don’t. I mean we’ve battled with enough conflict this last year and just getting back on our feet again and everything kinda settling down”, said restaurant owner Duke Landry.

Landry says he hates the idea of limiting customers but will do what’s necessary to stay in business.

“We’ll adapt if we have to. You know, we’re kinda prepared if they do. We’ve added outdoor seating now and we’re trying to accommodate that, it’s kinda hot now though. But you know whatever is better for the customer and our employees”

Governor Edwards will make his announcement at 3 o’clock Friday afternoon.

Office phones and email will be monitored in order to address any emergencies that might arise during this time. Inspections still needing to be scheduled may utilize the online permit system at mygovernmentonline.org.

Livingston OMV locations will close temporarily as well according to a statement from the office:

“In accordance with the parish-wide temporary shutdown, the Livingston OMV location will be closed from Thursday, July 22, 2021, to Monday, August 2, 2021. Customers who have appointments booked at the Livingston OMV during the closure must reschedule online at www.expresslane.org. The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles reminds customers to utilize the free LA Wallet app when possible. LA Wallet allows eligible customers to request a duplicate driver’s license and renew their current driver’s license. Additionally, customers are encouraged to visit the official OMV website, www.expresslane.org, for online services and a complete list of open offices.”

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