Gov. John Bel Edwards has announced that the state will enter Phase 3 on Friday, Sept. 11 when his Phase 2 emergency proclamation ends, but he did not give details on what his next proclamation would be.
Edwards did say that the next proclamation will continue the statewide mask mandate and that Phase 3 would not lift all statewide restrictions. He also said he would follow recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Louisiana has been in Phase 2 since Friday, June 5, which was originally set to expire three weeks after but has been extended and even added to throughout the summer.
The Phase 2 emergency proclamation allowed restaurants and other businesses to expand their capacity to 50%, which was up from the 25% capacity in Phase 1. Businesses like movie theatres, bowling alleys, churches, barbershops and salons, casinos and tattoo parlors were also allowed to open with 50% capacity.
Bars were closed under Phase 1, but Edwards allowed them to open briefly under Phase 2 if they held a food permit before ordering all bars to close for on-site consumption on July 13.
The statewide mask mandate and a 50 person limit on social gatherings was also included under his modified Phase 2 restrictions on July 13.
Edwards has followed the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again from the White House for the phased reopening. Here is a look at what those guidelines are for Phase 3.
- Vulnerable individuals can resume public interactions, but should practice physical distancing and minimize exposure to social settings where distancing may not be practical, unless precautionary measures are observed.
- Low risk populations should consider minimizing time spent in crowded environments.
- The guidelines do not mention a mask mandate, but Edwards has said he intends to keep the statewide mandate in Phase 3
- The White House recommended individuals avoid social gatherings of more than 50 people in Phase 2. However, it makes no recommendation for social gatherings in Phase 3.
- Employers can resume unrestricted staffing of their worksites.
- Visits to nursing homes, senior care facilities and hospitals can resume under Phase 3. However, the White House recommends those who interact with residents and patients must be diligent regarding hygiene.
- Businesses with large spaces including movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship and those with sit-down dining can operate under limited physical distancing protocols.
- In Phase 3, bars may operate with increased standing room occupancy where applicable.
- Gyms and fitness centers can remain open in Phase 3 if they adhere to standard sanitation protocols.
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