Louisiana will soon move into Phase Two of reopening the economy, which will allow most businesses to resume operations at 50-percent capacity and reopen businesses that have been previously closed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Phase Two will go into effect on Friday, June 5, and last for three weeks, like the first phase, Gov. John Bel Edwards told reporters on Monday.
Following the continued improvement in Louisiana’s COVID-19 outlook and a significant increase in testing capacity and contact tracing, the state is ready to move to Phase 2 of the White House’s reopening strategy on June 5. #lagov #lalege— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) June 1, 2020
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Louisiana entered Phase One on May 15, the day Edwards officially lifted the state stay-at-home order that had been in place for nearly two months amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, which hit Louisiana harder than almost all other states in the initial outbreak.
In order to enter Phase One and later Phase Two of the White House’s reopening plan — which was vetted by the Center for Disease Control — a state must see downward trends in people reporting COVID-like symptoms to emergency rooms, new cases, and new hospitalizations over a two-week period.
According to Edwards, Louisiana as a whole has met the criteria to enter the next phase.
“The people of Louisiana have done an incredible job flattening the curve here, and I’m thankful for their compliance and hard work,” Edwards said in a statement. “Likewise, the state has matched their efforts by ramping up both testing and contact tracing. All of this has allowed us to get to a place where we can move into Phase 2 on Friday.”
Under the second phase, restaurants, retailers, and other businesses that have been operating at 25-percent capacity can move up to 50-percent capacity. The new phase also opens previously closed businesses such as bars, tattoo parlors, day spas, swimming pools, bowling alleys, skating rinks, and event centers.
Edwards said bars will be able to operate at 25-percent capacity, making it the first time bars without food permits will be allowed to operate since mid-March. Casinos will also be able to operate at 50-percent capacity with 75 percent of their gaming positions, if plans are approved by the Gaming Control Board.
Churches, casinos, retailers, shopping malls, and barbershops are asked to keep social distancing measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, businesses will be encouraged to check the temperature of customers and require that all public-facing employees continue to wear masks.
Arcades and trampoline parks may open under approved plans by the State Fire Marshal, with minors accompanied by parents.
Summer camps were allowed to open with restrictions in Phase One, and additional guidance will be issued. Sleep-away camps are not allowed in Phase Two.
The following businesses remain closed under Phase Two: carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, fairs, contact sports, children’s indoor play centers, theme parks, concert and music halls, and other similar businesses.
Live entertainment is also not permitted inside any building or indoor function.
Edwards encouraged businesses that can allow employees to work remotely to consider doing so, especially if an employee is at high risk for becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 or shares a household with a high risk person.
“We’re doing what we can to strike the right balance with the demands that we have based on the public health emergency,” Edwards said. “And we’re doing it in a manner that is fully consistent with the CDC-vetted White House guidelines.”
Phase Two is set to end on June 26, Edwards said.
Below is a list of businesses that will be able to open at 50-percent occupancy:
- Restaurants, cafes and coffee shops
- Shopping malls (including food courts, following restaurant guidance)
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Barber, beauty shops, and nail salons
- Movie theaters
- Racetracks (not open to spectators)
- Museums (including children’s museums), zoos, aquariums (no tactile exhibits)
- Bars and breweries with LDH food permits
- Massage establishments, spas, and tattoo establishments (under strict guidance from LDH), esthetician services (under strict guidance from the Cosmetology Board)
- Pool halls, bowling alleys and skating rinks (children must be accompanied by an adult)
- Event Centers and wedding venues
- Outdoor playgrounds and play centers (children must be accompanied by an adult)
David Gray | The News