In A Flash

Louisiana to begin Phase 3 on Friday

By: - September 10, 2020 2:26 pm
Gov. John Bel Edwards

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (Photo by Wes Muller/LA Illuminator).

In a press conference Thursday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the state will move to Phase 3 of its coronavirus response on Friday, lifting some restrictions but leaving the face-mask mandate in place.

Phase 3 is expected to loosen some restrictions on businesses, schools and public gatherings, but the governor did not elaborate on those details in his announcement. Edwards said he will release those details on Friday and urged residents to not assume the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

At the federal level, the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the Centers for Disease Control recommend Phase 3 guidelines include the lifting of the 50% capacity requirements for restaurants and an increase in the capacities at other locations such as theaters, schools, museums and gyms, while social distancing restrictions remain in place.

However, it is unclear if Louisiana will adopt all or just some of the federal guidance, though Edwards did say the face covering mandate will remain.

The transition comes on the heels of a steady two-month decline in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, percent-positive rates, and deaths. Health officials on Thursday reported 499 new cases, which is roughly one-fourth of the daily case count the state was seeing in early July.

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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Among his recognitions are McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association. Muller is an alumnus of Jesuit High School and the University of New Orleans and is a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Louisiana with his wife and two sons.