NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As we continue to enter uncharted territory, health experts believe how we enter the next phase of reopening will depend greatly on what we’ve learned in phase one.
“Phase one taught us that we did a good job when it comes to flattening the curve and staying in, and the data allowed us to consider opening up and relieving some of the restrictions,” said health educator Dr. Eric Griggs.
Under the White House and CDC guidelines, “Phase Two” would allow:
- Non-essential travel can resume.
- Summer camps can open.
- Large venues like stadiums can operate under moderate physical distancing protocols.
- Bars may operate with diminished standing-room occupancy, where applicable and appropriate.
- Occupancy restrictions at businesses and places of worship could expand to 50 percent.
The White House guidelines may also differ from individual states and cities.
For instance, gyms are already allowed to reopen under phase one in louisiana outside of New Orleans, while Orleans Criminal Court will have a limited reopening when the parish reaches phase two.
“I know that the state is working on their phase two plan. We’re actively involved in that, and they might choose to move into phase two by the end of next week. That would be three weeks from the beginning of phase one. In my opinion that might be a little premature," said New Orleans Health Director, Dr. Jennifer Avegno at a recent press conference.
“I think we did a great job considering where we were to where we are now," said Griggs.
We’re still waiting to see how Memorial Day may have effected the numbers, and while the recent protests in New Orleans over the death of George Floyd have largely ignored social distancing, Griggs says the fact that almost all demonstrators chose to wear masks means the message is getting out.
“In light of the seriousness of the situation, the fact that people are even thinking to wear a mask is amazing."
"This is an emotionally charged time we’re in right now, and social distancing or staying away might be one of the last things on peoples minds. If you’re operating on your cortisol and your epinephrine like you do in stressful times, your judgement can be off.”
Griggs says no matter what phase we’re in, without a cure or a vaccine, it’s safer just to stay home as much as you can.
“Here in New Orleans we’ve been doing really well and as a state we’ve been doing really well, so we’ll just have to see. But we know that the science has not changed and every time people come together for any reason, numbers spike.”