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COVID-19: FAQs on statewide Stay At Home Order

The order by Gov. John Bel Edwards goes into effect at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23 and lasts until Monday, April 13.
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Posted at 1:37 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 14:37:42-04

On Sunday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide stay at home order, requiring Louisiana residents to shelter at home unless going out for essential tasks, that goes into effect at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23.

The order directs all Louisiana residents to shelter at home and limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs.

According to Edwards, people can go to the grocery store, convenience store, pharmacy, make medical appointments, restaurants for take-out, delivery or drive-thru, exercise and walk pets, among other things.

The order will stay in place through Monday, April 13, unless it is extended.

Below is a list from the governor's website of what residents can and can't do under the governor's Stay At Home Order.

YOU CAN:

  • Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care for or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others.
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies
  • Receive deliveries from any business which delivers

YOU SHOULD NOT:

  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites.

For businesses, the order has the following limits:

  • All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, trampoline parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, pool halls, children’s play centers, playgrounds, theme parks, any theaters, concert and music halls, adult entertainment venues, racetracks, and other similar businesses.
  • All personal care and grooming businesses, including but not limited to, barber shops, beauty salons, nail salons, spas, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, and other similar businesses.
  • All malls, except for stores in a mall that have a direct outdoor entrance and exit that provide essential services and products as provided by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines.
  • Businesses closed to the public as listed in the order can conduct necessary activities such as payroll, cleaning services, maintenance or upkeep as necessary.
  • Any business not covered by the guidance from the CISA discussed in Section 3 of the order and not ordered to temporarily close must reduce operations to continue with minimum contact with members of the public and essential employees, while requiring proper social distancing, adhering to the 10-person limitation on gathering size.
  • Early learning centers and child care facilities adhering to the guidance issued by the Louisiana Department of Education and Office of Public Health may continue to operate.

Examples of Essential Worker Functions under the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines include:

  • Healthcare workers and caregivers
  • Mental health and Social Service workers
  • Pharmacy employees
  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail sales of food and beverage products
  • Restaurant carryout and quick-serve food operations and food delivery employees
  • Farm workers
  • Electricity and Utility Industry Employees
  • Critical Manufacturing Employees (medical supply chains, energy, transportation, food, chemicals)
  • Petroleum, Natural and Propane Gas Workers
  • Transportation and Logistics Workers
  • Communications and Information Technology Employees

What is the difference between “Safer at Home” and “social distancing”?
Safer at home is a stricter form of social distancing. Safer at home means:

  • Stay home (stay unexposed and do not expose others)
  • Only go out for essential services
  • Stay six feet or more away from others
  • Don’t gather in groups

What is a Stay at Home order?
A Stay at Home order is the Governor directing people to avoid going out in public unless it is absolutely necessary.

Why is this Stay at Home order necessary?
Right now, COVID-19 is spreading rapidly throughout our state and some of our communities and, without taking additional measures, Louisiana’s health care system will have more sick people than it can care for. The state is working to increase its health care capacity, but people also need to take measures to prevent the spread of this illness. Our medical community is working overtime to take care of people who are sick, but it needs help from the public to keep even more people from needing care.

When is it okay for me to leave my home?
People can leave their homes to do things like buy groceries or food, pick up medicine or go to work if their job is essential. If you have to go out, make sure you practice social distancing measures and keep 6 feet between you and the people around you. Also, people are encouraged to go outside and to stay active during this time, as long as they practice social distancing when they are around their neighbors.

What if I need to get tested for coronavirus or to go to the doctor?
People can leave their homes for medical treatment or to get testing, but they should call their health care provider or doctor before doing so for advice. Your doctor may be able to help you via telemedicine or decide if you need to be tested by asking you questions on the phone. Do not show up to a testing site without consulting a medical professional first, because you may need a doctor’s order to qualify for a test. Unless it is an emergency, do not go to a health care facility without calling first, because you may put yourself at risk of being exposed to COVID-19.

What businesses and jobs are considered essential?
Health care workers, public safety employees, some government workers, staff of grocery stores and restaurants and employees of some business are generally considered essential workers. Businesses like manufacturers and utilities have to continue operations to support our communities. In general, the state of Louisiana follows guidance from the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) about what infrastructure and businesses are “critical” during the COVID-19 outbreak. For more detailed information from CISA, visit this site: https://www.cisa.gov/identifying-critical-infrastructure-during-covid-19.

How will this order be enforced?
The state is working with local law enforcement to support the order. There have been rumors about military control or martial law being declared. According to the governor's office, these rumors are false.

Why is this order statewide? There are not a lot of cases confirmed in my area.
COVID-19 is rapidly spreading throughout the state and the governor's office says that it knows that some people do not show symptoms for 14 days, even if they are sick. Just because no one has tested positive in your community doesn’t mean that no one is sick. By enacting this Stay at Home order statewide, Edwards says he is working to slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.

Is the Governor closing Louisiana’s borders and declaring martial law?
No. According to the governor's office, this is a rumor and is not based in fact. Members of Louisiana’s National Guard have been deployed in Louisiana to help support local testing sites, so you may see members of the military in your community. The governor says that martial law has not been declared and that Louisiana’s borders are not closed.

When is the Stay at Home order going to be lifted?
According to the governor's office, the Stay at Home Order is in place until the morning of Monday, April 13, which is when schools are scheduled to re-open. Edwards has said he will re-evaluate the order before it expires to make sure that it doesn’t need to be restricted.

Where can people get more information about what the State of Louisiana is doing in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak?
The governor’s office is constantly updating its website at gov.louisiana.gov, as is the Louisiana Department of Health at ldh.la.gov/Coronavirus. You can also call 211 for general information about COVID-19 and to get connected to help and resources.

You can read the governor's Stay At Home Order in full below:

You can read the full list of services considered as essential infrastructure below: