BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana will move back to a "modified" Phase 2 during a media briefing on Louisiana’s response to COVID-19 on Tuesday.
The governor announced increased mitigation measures beginning Wednesday, Nov. 25.
He said that the aggressive third surge of COVID-19 across all regions of Louisiana has made it necessary to impose tighter mitigation measures and step back to Phase 2 in order to protect public health.
The changes to the mitigation measures revolve mainly around reduced capacity as follows:
- All Louisianans are encouraged to avoid gatherings of individuals not part of their households.
- All businesses, private and public sectors, are encouraged to use remote work where they can.
- All restaurants are limited to 50% of their indoor capacity. Restaurants should move as much dining outdoors as they can. Social distancing is required.
- For bars in parishes above 5% positivity, bars are closed to indoor sales and consumption but open for outdoor consumption at tables only and at 25% capacity, with a maximum of 50 people. Social distancing is required. Take-out and delivery will still be available.
- Retail businesses at 50% capacity, except for essential businesses, as defined by federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
- Gyms may be open at 50% of their capacity.
- Places of worship will remain at a maximum of 75% of their capacity or the number of people who can physically distance with at least six feet between each immediate household. The State Fire Marshal will put out additional COVID mitigation measures to make services safer.
- Barber and beauty shops, and nail salons may open at 50% of their capacity.
- Movie theaters may open at 50% of their capacity.
- Indoor gatherings at event/receptions centers are limited to 25% capacity or up to 75 individuals.
- Outdoor gatherings at event/reception centers are limited to 25% capacity or up to 150 individuals when strict physical distancing is not possible.
- All sporting events will be capped at 25% capacity.
The statewide mask mandate will also remain in place.
Edwards said that the restrictions will be included in a new proclamation that he will sign later on Tuesday, that will take effect on Wednesday, Nov. 25. It will remain in effect for 28 days and end on Dec. 23.
Edwards said that there should be no expectation that restrictions will be lifted before the Christmas holiday.
The governor also encouraged all employers both public and private to maximize their use of telework and work remotely when possible.
He also asked families to engage in safe holiday-related activities.
The governor said that he was leaving the decision for schools to remain open or go virtual up to the individual school districts.
“It is absolutely vital that Louisianans take this third surge of COVID seriously," he said later in a statement. "While there is hopeful news about the development of an effective vaccine, the reality is that we are several months away from being able to widely vaccinate the general population in our state."
During a press briefing last week, Edwards urged Louisianans to heed COVID-19 mitigation measures and keep Thanksgiving and other holiday gatherings small.
According to the latest report by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the governor said, Louisiana had 474 new cases per 100,000 people last week, which is higher than the national average for states, which is 356 per 100,000 people.
For the latest on the numbers in Louisiana, click here.
You can read the "modified" Phase 2 proclamation from the governor below:
You can see the gating criteria and data from the Louisiana Department of Health used to justify the move back to Phase 2 below:
You can watch the full press briefing from Tuesday below:
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