Gov. John Bel Edwards

Gov. John Bel Edwards

The spread of the novel coronavirus, especially in the New Orleans area at this time, has Gov. John Bel Edwards delivering press conferences as often as possible.

Louisiana is reporting more than 400 new positive cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 1,795 cases, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health.

While the state jumped up 28 percent from the day before, the case total in Livingston Parish remained at six, according to the Department of Health.

On Wednesday, the governor again asked the Louisiana public to be a good neighbor and practice the mitigation efforts and guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC).

Good practices for social distancing and hygiene include:

  • No gatherings of 10 or more
  • Wash hands for 20 seconds or more
  • Sneeze and cough into a tissue or elbow
  • Disinfect common surfaces
  • Stay home when sick

However, confusion has arisen from the stay at home order issued by the governor's office on Sunday, which further closed businesses and asked those who could work from home, to do so.

The stay at home order still allows residents to:

  1. Go to grocery or warehouse stores
  2. Pickup food from restaurants
  3. Go to pharmacies
  4. Go to the doctor's office, should the doctor allow it

You can also:

  1. Care for or support a friend or family member
  2. Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise - just keep at least six feet between you and others
  3. Walk your pets and take them to veterinarian if necessary
  4. Help someone to get necessary supplies 
  5. Receive deliveries from any business which delivers

Confusion came from businesses that, according to Federal Department of Homeland Security, were not considered essential services that could operate during the 'stay at home' order.

Gov. Edwards released an initial proclamation that closed the following:

  • Gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people.
  • Casinos and bars will be closed.
  • Restaurants will be closed to patrons eating on site. Take-out, drive-through and delivery orders are allowed.
  • Movie theaters will be closed.
  • Gyms and studios

With his newest proclamation, requiring a stay-at-home policy for Louisiana, the governor added the following to the list:

  • All places of public amusement, whether indoor or outdoor, including but not limited to: places with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, trampoline parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, pool halls, children's play centers, playgrounds, theme parks, any theaters, concert and music halls, adult entertainment venues, racetracks, and other similar businesses
  • All personal care and grooming businesses, including but not limited to: barber shops, beauty salons, nail salons, spas, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, and other similar businesses
  • All malls, except for stores in a mall that have a direct outdoor entrance and exit that provide essential services and products as provided by CISA guidelines

There are, however, businesses that exist between those closed - or restricted, as restaurants are with 'take-out' only mandates - and those who are considered essential.

On Wednesday, the governor emphasized that the guidelines for those businesses are clear. He listed the three levels of business, through CISA guidelines, that should exist.

  1. Those listed above that are closed due to executive order, or those which are partially affected (such as restaurants with take out)
  2. Those businesses which are non-essential that can perform non-public facing activities
  3. Essential business, as listed in the CISA Guidance on Identifying Critical Infrastructure

According to the governor, businesses closed to the public by the provision shall not be prohibited from conducting necessary activities such as payroll, cleaning services, maintenance, or building upkeep as necessary - as long as business are practicing the appropriate social distancing.

According to the CISA guidelines, businesses can keep operating as long as employees can work remotely, or those in the office number less than 10 and can practice appropriate social distancing and coronavirus mitigation efforts.

Interaction with the public is counterproductive to these measures, CISA adds.

If workers are required at the place of business, they should be:

  • Separated by at least six feet at all times
  • Not interacting with the public
  • Washing hands regularly
  • Coughing and sneezing into their elbow or a tissue
  • No more than 10 people at the office at any given time
  • Disinfecting common surfaces regularly

CISA guidelines recommend varying shifts to keep the number of people at the office low, if employees are required on site. These workers should be present to perform core business functions only.

Governor Edwards said that these guidelines are not enforced, but simply a framework to try and help businesses do their part in 'flattening the curve' regarding the spread of coronavirus through Louisiana.

The state recommends you call your employer if you are still curious as to your work situation.

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