People wearing masks.

Despite steadily improving its COVID-19 numbers in recent weeks, Louisiana will remain in its modified version of Phase Two coronavirus restrictions, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday.

After a prolonged third surge of the virus, the state has seen a dip in new cases, percent possibility, and hospitalizations.

However, Edwards said the “baseline numbers remain very high” and that all 64 parishes remain in the “highest” risk category, meaning every parish reported at least 100 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days.

Edwards also pointed to other factors — such as more transmissible strains and the Mardi Gras holiday — that went into his decision to keep the status quo for another three weeks. Experts believe the Mardi Gras holiday is what “seeded” the virus in the state and helped Louisiana become one of the nation’s early hotspots.

“Our conduct should not change in the foreseeable future,” Edwards said.

The new order will run for 21 days, and Edwards said he is “hopeful” that he’ll be able to ease restrictions once the current order expires “if we continue on the path we’re currently on.”

This marks the fourth time the governor has extended the modified Phase Two order after originally implementing it in late November.

Below is a breakdown of what the current restrictions have looked like since late November. 

(Note: Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate has remained in place since the summer.)

Capacity limits on businesses, places of worship

-- Places of worship remain at maximum of 75 percent of their capacity or the number of people who can physically distance at least 6 feet between each immediate household, whichever is less.

-- All restaurants are limited to 50 percent of their indoor capacity. Restaurants are encouraged to move as much dining outdoors as possible. Social distancing is required.

-- Retail businesses are limited to 50 percent capacity, except for essential businesses, as defined by federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

-- Gyms may be open at 50 percent of their capacity.

-- Barber and beauty shops, and nail salons may open at 50 percent of their capacity.

-- Movie theaters may open at 50 percent of their capacity.

Limits on social gatherings, sporting events

-- Indoor gatherings at event/receptions centers are limited to 25-percent capacity or up to 75 individuals.

-- Outdoor gatherings at event/reception centers are limited to 25-percent capacity or up to 150 individuals when strict physical distancing is not possible.

-- All sporting events will be capped at 25-percent capacity.

Bars in parishes below 5-percent positivity

-- Can allow indoor on-site consumption up to 25-percent occupancy or 50 people

-- Patrons must be seated and socially distant

-- Tableside service only (no walk-up service)

-- No alcohol sales after 11 p.m.

-- No one under 21 allowed

Bars in parishes above 5-percent positivity

-- Closed to indoor sales and consumption

-- Can allow outdoor on-site consumption at tables only up to 25-percent occupancy, maximum of 50 people

-- Social distancing is required

-- Tableside service only

-- Take-out and delivery still available

-- No one under 21 allowed

-- No alcohol sales after 11 p.m.

(1) comment


Apparently some restaurants in Denham Springs and Baton Rouge aren't going by the 50% rule.

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