Edwards Lifts Some Restrictions on Businesses

Virus Outbreak Louisiana
Bill Feig/The Advocate via AP, Pool

BATON ROUGE – Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that, starting May 16, Louisiana restaurants will be able to offer indoor seating and table service at 25 percent of their normal capacity. Hair salons, nail salons, movie theaters, bars that serve food and gyms are among the businesses that will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity as Louisiana moves into “phase one” of the state’s reopening plan based on White House guidelines. Churches will also be able to operate at 25 percent capacity. All employees at these businesses will be required to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

Tattoo parlors, massage parlors, spas, amusement parks, children’s museums and bars without food are among the businesses that will not be allowed to operate during this time period. The governor’s new proclamation will last until June 5. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell will announce the city’s plans on May 12.

Nearly two months ago, state and local leaders issued orders for certain businesses to close and for citizens to stay at home to prevent gatherings that could increase the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness that has claimed the lives of more than 81 thousand Americans. Louisiana has nearly 32,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 and there have been more than 2,300 deaths in the state. But the state’s number of new cases has slowed and hospitals are not overwhelmed by patients. Here as around the country, local and state leaders are making plans to reopen segments of the economy while minimizing risks of a new spike in infections.

“The bottom line is that the people of Louisiana have worked really hard since this public health emergency was first announced in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and I am proud and I want to thank the people of Louisiana for doing that,” said Edwards. “They committed to and complied with the stay-at-home order and had they not we would not have seen the progress that we have been able to see. I also want to remind everybody that until Friday to stay home order is still in place.”

This article was updated to correct the U.S. coronavirus death toll.

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