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New website will help businesses get ready

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Posted at 9:08 AM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 16:33:42-04

A new website is offering information to help businesses get ready for the phases of re-opening in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards said at Monday's briefing.

The website will provide details and answers to commonly asked questions about what the rules are and how businesses can comply, the governor said.

In other news, the governor said that the extended unemployment benefits should start to be paid this week. The additional benefits, which came from the federal government, have required some extensive reprogramming to the state's system and that work should be done before Friday, he said.

State Fire Marshal Butch Browning talked about the new website for businesses. The website, opensafely.la.gov, allows businesses to register for notification of important dates, and to immediately receive information about what the rules are.

The site also will allow citizens to file complaints against businesses that they think aren't following the rules properly.

"The beauty of this program is, it's a living document online," Browning said. Once a business is registered, they'll get updates and changes as soon as they happen, he said.

State sanitary inspectors and fire inspectors will conduct compliance checks, with details sent to the business immediately after the checks are complete.

"Customers have a role, too," Browning said. "Any customer can file a complaint on a specific situation that they think needs to be looked into."

There will be how-to videos for businesses on how to comply, and for customers to explain what compliance will should look like.

There's specific guidance for different types of businesses, Browning said. When a business registers, they'll get the guidance that exists today. As it changes or is updated, they'll get notifications, Browning said.

Browning said there was no "handbook to pull off the shelf" to do this, but he believes the state has come up with a model that other states will want to look at.

As he has repeatedly, Edwards reiterated today that Louisiana is following the guidelines set up by the White House's re-opening recommendations. He has credited President Trump and Vice President Pence with helping the state get the tests it needs to proceed toward re-opening.

Edwards said Louisiana is following those recommendations and guidelines, because they make sense, they're supported by the science, and they're endorsed by the CDC.

"We're going to take the phased approach, and we think it makes a lot of sense," he said.

Some states that are re-opening had closed more infrastructure than Louisiana ever did, he said. Even so, Louisiana has been able to reduce infection rates, he said.

On May 4, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 29,673 confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state. This includes 300 additional cases than were reported yesterday.

A total of 1,991 people have died of the disease in Louisiana. This includes 22 more deaths than were reported yesterday.

There were 73 "probable deaths" reported on Monday. This is 30 more "probable deaths" than were reported last week by LDH.

The Louisiana Department of Health was reporting that 20,316 coronavirus patients are "presumed recovered." This is 3.013 more recovered cases than were reported by LDH last week.

The LDH reports that 1,502 people are hospitalized and that 220 require ventilators.

LDH updates their numbers each day at noon. The "presumed recovered" numbers are updated once weekly, on Mondays.

To see the latest from LDH and a breakdown of the numbers by parish, click here.

The governor's office announced on Friday, May 1, that press briefings will now be held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until the state enters Phase 1 of the White House's reopening plan.

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