Gov. John Bel Edwards formally extended his Stay at Home order until May 15 on Thursday, which is when the previous order was set to expire.
According to a release from the governor's office, the order is being extended as the state continues to slow the spread of COVID-19 to meet the White House threshold criteria for opening more of Louisiana's economy.
In recent days and weeks, Louisiana has seen a drop in new case counts and hospitalizations in some, but not all, regions of the state, though the death rate continues to be high, the release states.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, more than 1,800 people in Louisiana have died from COVID-19.
The governor's office states that while more than 17,000 people are estimated by LDH as being recovered, there are still 10,000 people in Louisiana that are sick, giving Louisiana a high disease burden.
This does not account for the thousands of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic cases in our state among those not tested, the release states.
As of Thursday morning, Louisiana was six per capita for cases in the United States, according to the governor's office.
My decision to extend the Stay at Home order was based on sound science and data and the recommendations of multiple public health experts and doctors as the best shot Louisiana has to protect the health of all people. We simply don’t meet the qualifications to move to Phase 1 yet, but all Louisianans should be hopeful that we will soon. Brighter days are ahead for Louisiana, and I am proud not only of our health care heroes and frontline essential workers, but also of our people who have shown extreme strength during this tough time and have largely abided by the Stay at Home order. We will get through this together and resume the celebrations we have had to put on hold when we are able to come together again safely.
The latest order from the governor mandates that certain businesses remain closed, but has several changes that allow other businesses to open under certain conditions.
Under the new order, businesses that previously were directed to be closed will remain closed, including salons, barber shops, bars and casinos. Businesses that are deemed essential under the third phase of federal CISA guidance will still be open. Non-essential retail and other businesses in Louisiana continue to be able to open with no more than 10 people total inside, including employees and customers.
The biggest changes in the new Stay at Home Order include:
- Malls will remain closed to the public, but stores may open for curbside delivery.
- Restaurants will be allowed to open their outside areas for patrons to eat meals only, without tableside service.
- All employees of a business who have contact with the public must wear a mask or face covering.
The governor's office also states that both the CDC and LDH strongly urge everyone to wear masks or face coverings when in public.
According to the release, Louisiana will meet the White House criteria and move to Phase 1 on May 15, provided symptoms, new case counts and hospitalizations decrease and the state continues to surge testing and contact tracing capacity.
Phase 1 lifts the Stay at Home order and eases restrictions on some public spaces like houses of worship and restaurants and opens other businesses that have been closed such as barber shops and salons, but with restrictions on occupancy and strict requirements for personal distancing and masks to keep everyone safe. Phase 1 occupancy for these businesses will be limited to 25 percent, including employees and customers.
As Louisiana prepares to move forward to the next phase, the release states, the state will begin issuing guidance and additional resources for businesses in the coming days and weeks.
Edwards has said he intends to make his next announcement on moving to Phase 1 in Louisiana on or by May 11.
Businesses that want to learn more about best practices under the new order can visit https://gov.louisiana.gov/can-this-business-open.
You can read the new Stay At Home Order in full below.
You can watch the governor's Thursday press conference below.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
To reach the newsroom or report a typo/correction, click HERE.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Evening News Headlines, Latest COVID-19 Headlines, Morning News Headlines, Special Offers