Health leaders will dictate when they reopen businesses, says New Orleans council president

Health leaders will dictate when they reopen businesses, says New Orleans council president

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Across the country, state and city leaders look at ways to slowly reopen businesses. It’s no different in the Greater New Orleans region.

"You can tell that America is ready to get back to work," says GNO Inc. President & CEO, Michael Hecht.

"I understand that folks have a lot of angst and want things to reopen,” said Helena Moreno, New Orleans City Council President. “I want things to reopen. I wish we could go back to normal. No one likes this situation."

Moreno says the city will not return back to business as usual at the flip of the switch.

“The last thing we need is to start the reopening and then next thing you know it is too quick too soon,” Moreno said. “Too many people start getting together too quickly and then all of a sudden, the cases start to surge, and we have to shut things down for even longer.”

She says about two weeks ago New Orleans’ Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno showed Mayor LaToya Cantrell and council members a presentation on what could if the city opened back up too soon.

“We are a city with roughly 400,000 and we’ve had over 300 deaths,” Moreno said. “Around that time as well, we were receiving the news and information coming from the state that 70 percent of deaths coming from statewide were from African-Americans then you put that together with the fact that we are predominately an African-American city. We have to be very careful. We must protect the people in our city.”

This is why Moreno says Cantrell extended the stay at home order to May 16. She says local leaders are taking their cues from health professionals before allowing businesses to reopen.

“The reason for that is trying to keep as many people alive as possible,” Moreno said.

She doesn’t give a timeline for when businesses can start reopening but Michael Hecht of GNO, Inc. worries when things do open, whether customers, will soon follow.

"I think there's going to be an adjustment period where we learn to reconcile with the new reality, and we overcome our fears," Hecht said.

“There is going to be a normal again but just please be patient for now as we slowly phase back into our city and state,” said Moreno.

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