BATON ROUGE, La. (The Livingston Parish News) – On Monday, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana will be lifted from its stay-at-home order and enter Phase One of the White House’s phased approach for reopening the economy.
The new order will go into effect statewide beginning May 15.
Phase One will last for 21 days and is scheduled to end June 5. Edwards said he expects an announcement on whether or not the state will enter Phase Two to come by Monday, June 1.
Under Phase One, many businesses that were previously closed amid the novel coronavirus pandemic will be allowed to operate under new restrictions that include capacity limitations, social distancing guidelines, and other mitigation measures.
Businesses that are allowed to be open on Friday are instructed to keep to 25 percent of their normal occupancy, which includes employees and customers. Additionally, employees that come in direct contact with the public have to wear face masks.
However, businesses such as tattoo parlors, massage parlors, spas, amusement parks, children’s museums, and bars without food permits from the Louisiana Department of Health will remain closed.
Additional guidance from the State Fire Marshal (SFM) and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) is expected to come soon.
Churches will be able to conduct indoor service at 25 percent of their SFM capacity limit, with continued allowance for additional outdoor seating with SFM guidance on social distancing.
In line with this, indoor funerals and weddings may resume indoors at 25 percent capacity of the building and may continue outdoor services with no crowd size limitation as long as social distancing is practiced.
Restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes will be able to be open to the public for indoor table service at 25 percent of their SFM capacity, with continued allowance for additional outdoor seating with SFM guidance on social distancing.
Bars that hold an LDH food permit will be able to offer take-out and delivery of food and alcohol as well as dine-in seating in line with SFM guidance on social distancing for restaurants, with no more than 25 percent of their SFM capacity. No on site consumption will be allowed if not seated at SFM approved seating.
Gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to be open to the public at 25 percent of their capacity. The SFM and LDH will be issuing guidance on social distancing and sanitization.
Movie theaters may be open to the public at 25 percent of their State Fire Marshal capacity, with new guidance from SFM and LDH on social distancing and sanitation.
Casinos and video poker may be open in line with guidance from the Gaming Control Board and the Louisiana Racing Commission and at no more than 25 percent of their capacity and gaming positions. Racetracks may open for races without spectators only if approved by the Louisiana Racing Commission.
Museums, zoos, and aquariums may be open to the public at 25 percent of their capacity, with no organized tours and no tactile exhibits. Children’s museums remain closed.
Barbers, hair salons, and nail salons may be open to the public at 25 percent of their capacity with SFM guidance on social distancing.
Anchor stores of shopping malls with exterior doors accessible by the public will be allowed to be open to the public at 25 percent capacity. Interior mall stores can continue to offer their goods for sale to the public for curbside delivery only.
David Gray | The News