BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Republican Party of Louisiana is calling on Governor John Bel Edwards to allow individual parishes to move into Phase 3 where cases are declining and local hospitals have enough capacity.
“Every parish is experiencing this pandemic in different ways. So a “one size fits all” strategy is both impractical and actively harmful for our state,” LAGOP Chairman Louis Gurvich said in a statement released Wednesday morning. “We must trust our local leaders with the flexibility to do what is best for their parishes citizens and businesses.”
The statement from LAGOP follows recently passed resolutions by the parish governments of Jefferson, St. Tammany, and St. Bernard, which expressed a similar position.
A decision on whether Louisiana will move into a new phase of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic could come Wednesday afternoon.
The current Phase 2 order is set to expire on Friday. Typically, the governor has announced decisions on reopening plans the Tuesday before the current order expires, but Edwards said in a briefing Tuesday that he had not yet met with state health officials to go over the gating criteria he has used to determine the next steps.
“We’re not gonna rush that decision,” Edwards said, adding that he was also awaiting guidance from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which gives governors state-specific recommendations every week.
Under the current Phase 2 restrictions, bars are limited to take-out only and businesses such as shopping malls, reception halls, and restaurants, have a maximum allowed occupancy of 50%. Phase 3 would relax the aforementioned restrictions on occupancy, and nursing home visits would be permitted under certain conditions. Many business leaders have long advocated for a Phase 3 regional implementation, as this would expand economic activity and allow more people to return to work.