Week in Review, June 1-5: Protests Continue, Cristobal Approaches
NEW ORLEANS – The economy in New Orleans continued to come back to life this week as part of phase one of the pandemic reopening plan. While the rest of Louisiana moved into phase two on June 5 – which will allow many businesses to increase their capacity from 25% to 50% – New Orleans will announce a different set of eased restrictions in the coming days. Bars, tattoo parlors and massage parlors are among the businesses outside of New Orleans that opened for the first time since the shutdown began.
In other business news, the federal government approved changes to the Paycheck Protection Program that will give businesses more time to use the funds and reduce the percentage of funds that have to be used for payroll purposes to qualify for loan forgiveness. Other news: there were far fewer layoffs in May than expected. The Louisiana State Legislature, meanwhile, is moving toward an approved budget for next year that relies heavily on federal COVID-19 aid to fill gaps left from reduced tax revenue.
By far the biggest story of the week is the daily protests that have taken place in New Orleans and around the world since the May 25 death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. Hundreds of peaceful protesters have gathered downtown every day this week wearing masks and following other precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Plans for protests will continue this weekend despite the approach of Tropical Storm Cristobal, which is moving north toward the Louisiana coast and is expected to bring heavy rainfall to the area as soon as Saturday. Gov. Edwards declared a state of emergency in advance of the storm and is encouraging residents to make preparations.
Other highlights from our coverage this week:
- Xavier University is calling for Jeff Davis Parkway to be renamed.
- The pandemic has disrupted the supply and increased demand for bikes in New Orleans and elsewhere.
- Plush Appeal vice president talks about how Carnival krewes are planning for Mardi Gras 2021 amid the coronavirus uncertainty.