Governor extends stay-at-home order

In efforts to maintain progress in fighting COVID-19, Gov. John Bel Edwards has extended the stay-at-home order until May 15.

Under the extended order, businesses that were previously ordered to stay close will remain closed. However, Edwards stated that additional guidelines will be added.

These guidelines will allow restaurants to open outside seating without table service and will allow malls to operate curbside retail. Employees of businesses deemed essential will also be required to wear face coverings at all times.

Edwards had hoped that Louisiana would have been prepared to reopen after April 30. However, he stated that the state does not meet the federal guidelines laid out by the White House.

“We looked at the data and used the opening plan from the White House as guidance and used the science,” said Edwards. “My hope was taking bigger steps toward reopening but the fact is, we just don’t meet the criteria.”

According to Edwards, Louisiana does not have consistent decreases in new cases or hospitalizations, which is critical for phase one of the reopening process.

“Every doctor and scientist that is advising me agreed that we need to be extremely cautious moving forward,” stated Edwards. “The decision to extend the date of the stay-at-home order is based on the data that we have, based upon science and the White House guidance for the phased reopening for states.”

As of April 27, Louisiana is sixth in terms of total number of cases per capita.

“Some may be looking at other states in our region and looking at what they are doing and wondering why we cannot match our schedule with theirs, but the reality is, the disease has spread at a rate and in numbers that far exceed those of our neighbors,” said Edwards.

In regards to reopening the economy, Edwards believes that the state needs to be smart to avoid a second wave.

Edwards hopes that the extension of the stay-at-home order will allow Louisiana to meet the criteria for phase one of reopening by May 15. An announcement will be made on May 11 regarding that decision.

“By taking the stay-at-home order seriously, we are well on our way to entering the next phase of reopening,” said Edwards. “I hope that everyone will use this time to adjust to our new normal.”