Statewide stay-at-home order issued

Gov Edwards COVID-19 3-22.PNG
Posted at 1:57 PM, Mar 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 06:52:40-04

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has issued a statewide stay at home order, requiring Louisiana residents to shelter at home unless going out for essential tasks.


The order takes effect at 5 p.m. Monday, but Edwards is asking people to self-isolate now. According to a letter sent by Edwards’ office to lawmakers, 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 April 12, unless it is extended.

"We need to be resolute, we need to be focused, and we need to be determined," the governor said. "We are going to get through this, but we're going to do it by complying with these directives. Let's be selfless. Let's be good neighbors. Let's be good Louisianians."

Louisiana has the fastest rate of growth of infection for the first 13 days of any area in the world, the governor says.

"These are basic facts we cannot deny or ignore. One week ago, we had 91 cases. As of this morning now have 837 cases and 20 deaths. That's a 10x increase in seven days," the governor said.

Edwards said experiences in other parts of the world have told us what we need to do.

"You have to act fast, and in places that may not look like they have a problem yet," he said.

Louisiana has the third-highest infection rate per capita, behind only New York and Washington state, he said. A study from UL determined that the state has the fastest growth rate in the world.

Rumors about shutting down the borders and calling out the National Guard to do so are not true, he said. There's plenty of good information out there, he said.

"We can get past this. But we're going to have to take these mitigation actions seriously," the governor said.

This emergency is going to get worse before it gets better. We don't know how much worse it's going to get, but we do know we can impact how much worse it gets, and that's what this press conference is about," Edwards said.

When asked about recovery numbers, Edwards said we haven't had the virus long enough to get those yet.

"Recovery means you've been diagnosed via a positive test that you have COVID-19, and then you have to test negative twice, with 24 hours between tests," Edwards said "That means you have to have a 14-day run after the first test, and we're not there yet."

Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide Stay at Home order that goes into effect at 5 p.m. Monday, March 23, to further fight the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana, as the number of confirmed cases have topped 800 and spread to more than half of our parishes.

  • Click here to read the Governor’s statewide Stay at Home order.
  • Click here to see graphics.

“In Louisiana we have taken aggressive measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve; however, this is not enough. As our number of cases continue to grow, I am directing all Louisianans to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary for you to leave. I am implementing this measure to help prevent you from becoming infected or infecting someone else. People can leave their homes to do essential things like buying groceries or food, pick up medicine or go to work only 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. 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,” Gov. Edwards said. “This order is not something I take lightly, but it is necessary to protect the health, safety and well-being of our people, our communities and our way of life.”
The order is set to expire at the end of the night on Sunday, April 12. The Governor will re-evaluate the need for the statewide Stay at Home order and other mitigation measures currently in place to determine if they need to be extended beyond April 12.

The Governor previously ordered all K-12 public schools, casinos, bars movie theatres, gyms and fitness centers closed and restricted restaurants to take-out, drive-through and delivery orders only. He has also moved the state’s April 4 elections and limited crowd size.

For businesses, the new Stay at Home order has limits on the following:

  • 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
  • Financial Services and Banking Industry Employees

See CISA essential business guidelines here.

Members of the public will still be allowed to go to grocery stores and pharmacies to pick up food, medicine and necessary supplies, go to their essential jobs and to go outside for exercise and fresh air. When leaving their home, people should practice social distancing.


Gov. Edwards has issued a number of orders designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana and flatten the curve. They are:

In addition, Gov. Edwards issued a proclamation on March 13 moving Louisiana’s elections, which can be found here.