Gov. Edwards: Moving to Phase 3 of COVID-19 recovery, Orleans Parish will adhere to its own guidelines

Businesses react to phase 3 of recovery

BATON ROUGE, La. (WVUE) - Friday, Louisiana enters Phase 3 of recovery in the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the governor, the new Phase 3 proclamation will go into effect Friday night.

He outlined the following restrictions for Phase 3: restaurants, churches, salons, spas, gyms and other businesses will be able to open at 75 percent of their occupancy, with social distancing in place.

For now, bars will remain closed to on-premises consumption in parishes with a high incidence of COVID. Parishes with a positivity rate of 5 percent or lower for two consecutive weeks may opt-in to open bars for on-premises consumption.

When bars are able to open in parishes with low incidence: Bars will be able to open at 25% capacity, up to 50 people. In addition, they may have no more than 50 customers outdoors.

No live music will be allowed.

All drinks will be ordered at and delivered to the table.

When bars reopen in Louisiana, last call will be at 10 p.m. Alcohol sales and service for on-premises consumption will end at 10 p.m. everywhere in Phase 3.

This includes restaurants and casinos and bars, when they reopen.

Nursing home visits are still not allowed in Phase 3. The Governor says LDH will soon begin a pilot program for some nursing homes in parishes with low incidence that have had zero cases for 14 days. LDH will have more details in the coming days.

“I’m not sure where we go from phase three looking forward,” Edwards said to WWL Radio. “Nobody should expect another major change after this one, across the board with occupancy percentages and so forth, really until we kind of get past this.”

He said people should not expect more “quantum leaps” before a vaccine is approved.

Despite the governor’s announcement, some parishes, like Orleans, will adhere to different guidelines. Earlier in the day Mayor LaToya Cantrell said there are restrictions on crowds for the Saints games and bars will not open.

Casinos will stay at 50% capacity, which is no change under the new order.

After two weeks of declines in COVID-19 cases Edwards says the state is ready to move into the next phase.

Edwards stressed that Phase 3 doesn’t mean he’s lifting all restrictions and he reminded Louisianans the mask mandate will remain in place.

The state will see restrictions loosened but health leaders will also closely monitor data concerned that Labor Day gatherings, hurricane evacuations and school openings could contribute to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“This was probably the hardest decision I’ve made thus far not because of the data but because of everything going on recently,” says Edwards.

NEED TO KNOW:

  • General businesses (including but not limited to restaurants, churches, salons, spas, and gyms) can move to a maximum 75% occupancy, but with social distancing required.
  • Bars will remain closed to on-premises consumption in parishes with high incidents of COVID-19. The parishes that have a positivity rate of 5% or lower for two consecutive weeks will be allowed to opt in, meaning the parish government will have to make the final decision. Those that open will be subject to many restrictions, including indoor restriction of 50% capacity, indoors and outdoors customers will have to remain seated for tableside service only, can have no more than 50 customers outdoors, and social distancing will be required indoors and outdoors, live music will not be allowed, all drinks will have to be ordered at the table and delivered by bar staff to the table, sale of service will end at 10 p.m. and patrons will be cleared from the building by 11 p.m. Individuals younger than 21 will not be allowed in the bar.
  • Other social gatherings will be limited to 50% capacity with a max of 250 people. Social distancing requirements will go along.
  • Outdoor crowd sizes are limited to 50% capacity of the outdoor space with up to 250 people if social distancing isn’t possible.
  • Casinos will stay at 50% capacity and 75% gaming positions.
  • Alcohol sales for on-premises consumption at all venues will end at 10 p.m., included at restaurants, event centers, casinos, and bars.
  • Sporting events will operate at 25% with social distancing required and without alcohol sales.
  • The statewide mask mandate will remain in place.

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