Governor delays Phase 3 decision
Louisiana might move out of Phase 2 of reopening as the governor’s latest extension expires later this week.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday that he will have a decision “as late as (Wednesday)” as to whether the state will advance into a new phase of reopening the economy. The current order keeping the state in Phase 2 ends Friday.
The state, which has been in Phase 2 of the coronavirus recovery for nearly three and a half months, could advance into Phase 3, which places fewer restrictions on businesses and moves life closer to what it was pre-pandemic, albeit with a mask mandate still firmly in place.
Edwards extended the order to remain in Phase 2 two weeks ago amid the dual threats of hurricanes Marco and Laura that shut down testing centers and further delayed the reopening of schools.
This time, Edwards is facing the unknown results of exposure at plenty of Labor Day celebrations which he cautioned could cause similar spikes in cases seen after Memorial Day. Like before, any spike in cases likely will not show up in the daily reported tests for a week or more, well after the state advances into Phase 3.
According to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines, a state can plan to move into Phase 3 of reopening after seeing a downward trajectory of documented cases for at least 14 days in Phase 2. Louisiana entered Phase 2 in early June, but the state saw a rapid increase in cases in deaths starting a week later.
Since then, the state has reversed some easing of restrictions on bars in an effort to once again flatten the curve. The state has mostly seen a downward trajectory in average new cases reported since last month.
The CDC guidelines for Phase 3 allow workplaces to begin operations with unrestricted staffing, allow visitors to return to senior care facilities and large venues like theaters, sporting venues and churches can reopen with limited physical distancing.