Edwards delays Phase 3 amid coronavirus spike

Staff Reports
Plaquemine Post South

BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards will postpone moving the state into Phase 3 of reopening amid a coronavirus spike in cases and hospitalizations during the past 10 days, the administration has said in an email to lawmakers.

Edwards' decision to remain in Phase 2 keeps occupancy limits in place for businesses already allowed to open.

It prevents outdoor amusement parks and sleep-away children's camps from opening and continues a prohibition on nursing home visits.

Edwards said he is following White House guidelines, which says states and regions shouldn't move to Phase 3 with evidence of a rebound, which Louisiana is suffering.

The governor's Phase 2 order had been set to expire Friday.

Louisiana crossed grim milestones Monday as the state reported 461 new cases for a total of 50,239 and 11 new deaths for a toll of 3,004. Hospitalizations increased by 41 for 630 total, the first time in more than two weeks the number of patients in hospitals has been more than 600.

Bars, breweries, pool halls, tattoo shops, swimming pools for recreational use, massage facilities, spas, food courts in shopping malls and bowling, skating and event centers are among the businesses that opened in Phase 2.

Restaurants, casinos, retailers and churches that were allowed to open in Phase 1 were generally allowed to expand their occupancy in Phase 2.

Bars are limited to 25% of seated occupancy. Tattoo shops will have strict sanitation and time limit requirements.

Outdoor playgrounds and play center were allowed to open in Phase 2, but children must be accompanied by an adult.

Indoor trampoline parks, arcades and outdoor amusement parks couldn't automatically open in Phase 2, but can petition the Louisiana Fire Marshal with a plan that if approved could allow them to partially reopen with restrictions.

Edwards' new order continues to require business employees who interact with the public to wear face coverings or masks and encourages all people to wear protective masks.