Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards released details for COVID-19 Phase 3. In a briefing, Edwards explained that some things will change, but some things remain the same.
Restaurants, churches, salons, spas, and gyms will be allowed open, now at 75% occupancy, but with social distancing in place.
Bars reopen, but with restrictions
In a departure from previous policy, bars will reopen parish by parish, based on the number of COVID-19 cases in each parish. Bars can reopen after a positive test rate of 5% or less for two consecutive weeks and only after the parish government has opted in to reopening. If a parish reaches a positive rate of 10% or higher, bars will close again for on-premise consumption.
In parishes where bars re-open, they will re-open with restrictions. Bars will open with 25% capacity, capped at a total of 50 people. Outdoor spaces at bars are limited to 50 people. Live music at bars continues to be prohibited. Patrons must be seated at tables with tableside service only, with drinks ordered at the table and delivered by staff.
Statewide, alcohol sales will now end at 10 p.m., and patrons must cleared from the premises by 11 p.m. For Phase 3, patrons younger than 21 are not allowed in bars.
Social and Sporting Events
In the new order for Phase 3, social events can continue to take place with 50% of the maximum occupancy, capped at 250 people.
Outdoor social events are limited to 50% capacity, or up to 250 people in situations where social distancing is not available.
Casinos remain open at 50% capacity, or a total of 75% of the gaming positions occupied.
In the new order, all alcohol sales statewide end at 10 p.m. in bars, restaurants, event centers, and casinos.
Sporting events can take place with 25% capacity with social distancing; alcohol sales will not be permitted.
Nursing Home Visitation
Policies for nursing homes will not change. Currently, 40% of COVID fatalities have happened in nursing homes.
According to Edwards, the Louisiana Department of Health is working on 28-day pilot program that would allow for outdoor visitation in parishes with 5% positivite cases or less and nursing homes with n0 cases in the last 14 days. Additional details will com from LDH.
Dr. Alex Billioux, assistant secretary with the Department of Health, explained the recent testing data. says it's still too early to see the impact that students going back to schools and universities, as well as the Labor Day weekend holiday will have on COVID-19 rates. He also explained that backlog data is distributed by the date the sample was taken.
The statewide mask mandate remains in place.
Edwards continued to urge more people to wear masks, and for everyone to wash their hands frequently and socially distance from people not in the immediate household. He continued to emphsize that individuals at high risk for COVID-19 should remain home.
The new order will be in place 28 days, expiring October 9.