Week in Review, May 18-22: Back to Business … Carefully

Virus Outbreak One Good Thing Nola Serenade
Healthcare workers at New Orleans East Hospital wave handkerchiefs and dance to a jazz serenade, as a tribute for their care of COVID-19 patients, by the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, outside the hospital in New Orleans, Friday, May 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS – The biggest story of the week is that New Orleans businesses began operating under the new rules: 25% capacity, mandatory masks and lots of hand sanitizer.

Among those back to work? The Louisiana legislature, which had another busy week of debate. By the end of the week, House Republican leaders were advancing a budget plan that mostly matches Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ proposal to use federal funds to fill a $1 billion gap caused by the pandemic. Other action this week: Legislators stripped $290 million from the state’s construction budget. House Republicans urged Gov. John Bel Edwards to modify his executive order limiting many nonessential businesses to 25 percent of their normal capacity. The legislature also moved closer to making it easier for people convicted of crimes to find and retain jobs and House Republicans halted an effort to allow any registered Louisiana voter to vote by mail.

Other news:

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s voted eight to three today to select Dr. Cade Brumley as the next state Superintendent of Education.

The Saints are looking to sell Superdome naming rights to a new sponsor after the deal with Mercedes Benz ends next year. The first bidder, an adult website, probably won’t get the gig.

An AP report explains how three of Louisiana’s most essential industries – oil, tourism and seafood – have all been hit hard by the pandemic.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association today released a “Roadmap to Recovery” calling on Congress to prioritize relief for hotel workers and small businesses in the next stimulus package.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive spike in the use of telemedicine services nationwide – and New Orleans is no exception. 

About 28,800 Louisiana residents filed for unemployment last week — more than 12 times as many as a year earlier, but the lowest number since pandemic restrictions began pounding the state’s economy.

And one silver lining: the AP reports that the number of “robocalls” is way down during the pandemic because call centers are closed or operating with fewer employees.

Categories: A Week In Review, Alerts, COVID-19, Energy, Politics, Today’s Business News