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Gov. Edwards: Phase 3 restrictions allow some businesses to expand to 75% capacity, bars can open in parishes with low cases

Phase 3 restrictions will remain in place until Oct. 9
gov edwards_AP.jpeg
Posted at 12:48 PM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 19:27:51-04

BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards held a media briefing on Friday to update on the state's COVID-19 response and Hurricane Laura response.

Edwards announced details about the Phase 3 emergency proclamation that goes into effect Friday.

Under Louisiana's Phase 3 restrictions, businesses such as restaurants, churches, salons, gyms and others will be able to open up to a maximum capacity of 75% with social distancing measures in place.

Bars will be able to open at 25% capacity indoors in parishes that show a percent positivity rate of 5% or less for two consecutive weeks with additional restrictions in place.

Bars must also get permission from parish authorities to allow them to open after the 5% threshold has been met.

The Louisiana Department of Health updates its COVID-19 dashboard with percent positivity for the state and individual parishes every two weeks. The next update is scheduled for Sept. 16.

According to the LDH dashboard only Plaquemines, Orleans, St. John the Baptist, Jeff Davis, and Bienville Parishes meet the criteria for 5% or less positivity rate for two consecutive weeks.

Bars will be able to allow no more than 50 customers outdoors. Patrons have to be seated at a table and served their drinks by bar staff.

Bars are still not allowed to have live music.

Bars will not allowed to serve alcohol after 10 p.m., and patrons must be cleared by 11 p.m.

Individuals younger than 21 will not be allowed in bars at this time.

Alcohol consumption for businesses like bars, restaurants and reception centers will end at 10 p.m.

There will also be a 50% capacity for other social gatherings like weddings and parties with a 250 maximum capacity.

Sporting events, like college football games, will operate at a lesser capacity of 25 percent and without alcohol sales.

The statewide mask mandate will remain in place under the Phase 3 restrictions.

Edwards added that nothing at the moment will change with regard to nursing home visitations. He said that this population continues to be the most vulnerable to COVID-19 as 40% of fatalities come from nursing homes.

Edwards said that a pilot program is in the works to see if some visitation can be allowed outdoors at certain nursing homes. He said that similar to the bar restrictions, the nursing homes would have to be in a parish with 5% positivity rate or less.

He said that LDH would have more information about the pilot program in the coming days.

LDH Assistant Secretary Dr. Alex Billioux said that as of now only 5 of the state's 64 parishes qualify for the 5% percent threshold.

"There really isn't any more movement going forward past Phase 3 while the pandemic is still going on," said Edwards. "We don't go from 75% to 100% until the pandemic is over."

Edwards also said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has notified the Louisiana Workforce Commission that the Lost Wage Assistance program that extended $300 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits is going to end after the week ending on Sept. 5

Edwards said that LWC has recieved funding from FEMA for the week ending Aug. 29, but that those funds won't appear until the next business day, which is Monday.

Edwards said that LWC has requested funds for the week ending Sept. 5, but that FEMA has yet to approve them.

On Thursday, Edwards announced that Louisiana would move forward into Phase 3. Restrictions are still in place including that state-wide mask mandate. More on his press conference can be found here.

The full press briefing from Friday is below:

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