NEW IBERIA, La. — Iberia Parish President Larry Richard announced on Wednesday that he was preparing a parishwide curfew for everyone, adults and minors, from 10 p.m. - 5 a.m., in an effort to further reduce the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a conference call with local media, Richard said that he was working with the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office who will enforce the curfew.
The curfew is for all municipalities in Iberia Parish, including Delcambre, Jeanerette, Loreauville and New Iberia.
The curfew will remain in effect until midnight on April 30, unless it is rescinded or extended by Richard.
The curfew prohibits pedestrian and vehicular traffic except for essential emergency vehicles and personnel.
The curfew does not apply to anyone going to and from work at businesses deemed as essential business activity as defined by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency.
IPSO will be out Wednesday night patrolling during the curfew and will take whatever measures they need to enforce it. Richard said that IPSO issuing misdemeanors for violating the curfew is a possibility.
There are exceptions for the curfew, Richard said, including for people working at hospitals and other first responders.
Richard said that he was also consulting with local businesses and stores about the curfew. He said that he believes, as of now, most stores in Iberia Parish close at 9 p.m.
However, he said the curfew will apply to those working for non-essential businesses.
According to Richard, he will holding teleconferences with local media instead of traditional press conferences in order to reduce the amount of people gathered together in a certain area.
He said that he is trying to abide by the governor's Stay-At-Home Order that limits social gatherings to 10 people or less.
He also said that he wanted to remind everyone to wash their hands with soap for 20 seconds, don't touch their face and stay at home unless it was an emergency.
Richard said that he was in near constant contact with other parish presidents, sheriffs, the governor's office and representatives in every parish in Acadiana to coordinate efforts to further reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Richard said that he was working with local essential stores about new procedures for having its customers inside store buildings, including the amount of children that are allowed inside the stores at any given time.
On Wednesday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported that there were 49 total cases of COVID-19 in Iberia Parish with 1 death. Richard said he had no further details on the parish's first death.
Richard said that he expects that COVID-19 cases will increase in Iberia Parish in the coming days despite the measures in place.
He urged residents of Iberia Parish to do their part to reduce the spread of the virus by adhering to the social distancing guidelines outline by Gov. John Bel Edwards and President Donald Trump.
"People in region have to reduce the number of people gathering," he said. "It’s up to the people to determine how long the epidemic will go on."
He advised residents who have been tested to please stay at home until they get their test results back and not to go out and mingle.
You can read the curfew order below.