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Some "gray area business" begin to reopen in Iberia Parish

Posted at 6:49 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 19:59:04-04

Some businesses in Iberia Parish are re-opening.

They are not essential, but were not explicitly forced to close by the Governor's stay-at-home order.

Iberia Parish President Larry Richard said they will have to follow some guidelines.

The business falling under the criteria can open if they:

  • Require social distance
  • Allow voluntary face coverings
  • Follow 10 person gathering limit
  • Follow the curfew set in place for the parish
  • Occupancy limit at 25% of the state fire marshal's limit

Richard says his announcement today was only clarifying the Governor's order. He says these "gray area businesses" could have been open all along.

When Southern Sass boutique heard the news, they decided they would re-open today.

"We're a small boutique and our customers are family to us," said Tammy White, owner of Southern Sass.

"We are practicing all of the social distancing guidelines and we only have a couple of customers in here at a time."

The boutique also posted a sign on its door asking customers if they feel slightly sick to not go inside, instead to shop online.

Richard says it's a fine line to balance safety and re-jump starting the economy. Last week, he put together a committee of 30 people including medical professionals, mayors, business owners, police and legal counsel to draft guidelines for these businesses. Richard says the Governor's legal counsel signed off on this initiative.

"It's one thing about the economy, but we have to definitely put safety first. I believe in that and I will always believe in that," Richard said.

Since the Governor's stay-at-home order, many businesses did close. Richard knows that's going to have an impact on his parish.

"It's much to early for me to tell you what kind of shortfall we're going to have. I personally know we're going to have a shortfall, but I just don't know how much it is," said Richard.

Moving forward, he's encouraging small business to install protective shields between employees and customers, supply hand sanitizer and wear face masks if possible.

White said, "We have plenty of Lysol and hand sanitizer, we wipe the counter tops. We're even limiting our hours to enable us to be able to clean in between days."

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