BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Governor Edwards has announced the following guidelines for Phase 3 of COVID-19 safety protocols in Louisiana. The new proclamation will go into effect at midnight.
- General businesses (including but not limited to restaurants, churches, salons, spas, and gyms) can move to a maximum of 75% occupancy, but with social distancing required.
- Bars will remain closed to on-premises consumption in parishes with high incidents of COVID-19. The parishes that have a positivity rate of 5% or lower for two consecutive weeks will be allowed to opt in, meaning the parish government will have to make the final decision. Those that open will be subject to many restrictions, bars will be able to open up to 25% capacity up to a max of 50 people indoors, customers will have to remain seated for table side service only, can have no more than 50 customers outdoors, and social distancing will be required for indoors and outdoors, live music will not be allowed, all drinks will have to be ordered at the table and delivered by bar staff to the table, sale of service of alcohol at bars will end at 10 p.m. and patrons will be cleared from the building by 11 p.m. Individuals younger than 21 will not be allowed in the bar.
- Other indoor social gatherings will be limited to 50% capacity with a max of 250 people. Social distancing requirements will go along.
- Outdoor crowd sizes are limited to 50% capacity of the outdoor space with up to 250 people if social distancing isn’t possible.
- Casinos will stay at 50% capacity and 75% gaming positions.
- Alcohol sales for on-premises consumption at all venues will end at 10 p.m., included at restaurants, event centers, reception centers, casinos, and bars.
- Sporting events will operate at 25% with social distancing required and without alcohol sales.
- The statewide mask mandate will remain in place.
- There is no change to nursing home visitation.
Friday marks the first day the state is Phase 3 of the White House’s plan for reopening the U.S. economy. Louisiana had been in Phase 2 since June 5.
Gov. Edwards stated that people still need to take the mitigation seriously. Reopening the economy and lifting some of the restrictions only happen when people wear their mask.
As we move into the next phase there isn’t really any movement forward behind Phase 3 until we get past the pandemic stated Gov. Edwards.
“Until such time as social distancing is not required then how can you ever go to a 100%," Gov. Edwards said. "I’m not saying there can’t be or won’t be some adjustments and modifications moving forward.”
He was quick to clarify that Phase 3 is not a lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions.
“We don’t go from 75% to 100% until the pandemic is over,” he said.
Gov. Edwards also said it was “extremely important” for residents to continue to practice mitigation measures such as wearing masks while out in public, social distancing, practicing proper hygiene, limiting activity in public, and staying home when sick.
The Governor said Louisiana remains number one in the U.S. for the number of COVID-19 cases per capita.
The White House’s Opening Up America Again guidelines allow for visits to nursing homes and increased capacity for restaurants, bars, and large venues.
It is unclear if Gov. Edwards will include tougher restrictions for Louisiana in his Phase 3 proclamation.
Gov. Edwards is expected to give more details regarding what Phase 3 will include during a news conference Friday afternoon.
The governor’s news conference will be broadcast live at 2 p.m. on air, online, and on mobile.
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