Modified Phase 2 extended
Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday extended his modified Phase 2 order, keeping COVID mitigation measures in place for another 28 days, and strongly recommended that all businesses in Louisiana move to remote work for as many employees as possible as COVID cases and hospitalizations surge in Louisiana.
The governor’s statewide mask mandate also stays in place.
The governor has made dire warnings about the trajectory of the state’s coronavirus metrics in recent weeks, but has remained hesitant to implement new restrictions, saying it is clear many residents aren’t following the current rules.
“What we are seeing is a huge spike in COVID cases and hospitalizations across the state, putting us in a dangerous position where we are seeing major stress on our health care systems. These continued mitigation measures are completely necessary, but they only work if people follow them,” Edwards said.
“Informal social gatherings are the biggest culprit right now and people need to understand that you should not be spending time with those outside of your household unless it is absolutely necessary,”
Edwards continued, “We also strongly recommend that any employer who can should have their employees work from home whenever possible. We are very fortunate to live in a time when we have the technology to do many things from the safety of our own home that wouldn’t have been possible just a few years ago. Let’s take advantage of that technology in order to slow the spread.”
The governor pointed out that mitigation measures worked to slow the spread of the virus in Louisiana at the start of the pandemic. However, as time dragged on, “people have gotten more lax” about following them.
“It’s time to buckle down with what we know works, and that’s wearing masks, social distancing, staying at home when you are ill and keeping to your own household.”
The governor’s new order expires on Feb. 10.
Louisiana’s COVID-19 restrictions include:
• All Louisianans are encouraged to avoid gatherings of individuals not part of their households.
• All businesses, private and public sectors, should have as many employees work from home as they can.
• All restaurants are limited to 50 percent of their indoor capacity. Restaurants should move as much dining outdoors as they can. Social distancing is required.
• For bars in parishes above 5 percent positivity, bars are closed to indoor sales and consumption but open for outdoor consumption at tables only and at 25 percent capacity, with a maximum of 50 people. Social distancing is required. Take-out and delivery will still be available.
• Retail businesses may open at 50 percent capacity, except for essential businesses, as defined by federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
• Gyms may be open at 50 percent of their capacity.
• Places of worship will remain at a maximum of 75 percent of their capacity or the number of people who can physically distance with at least six feet between each immediate household, whichever is less.
• Barber and beauty shops, and nail salons may open at 50 percent of their capacity.
• Movie theaters may open at 50 percent of their capacity.
• Indoor gatherings at event/reception centers are limited to 25 percent capacity or up to 75 individuals.
• Outdoor gatherings at event/reception centers are limited to 25 percent capacity or up to 150 individuals when strict physical distancing is not possible.
• All sporting events will be capped at 25 percent capacity.
For complete guidance on the new Phase 2, visit the Open Safely portal at opensafely.la.gov.