Louisiana’s Phase 3: Restaurants, retail shops and churches will be at 75 percent capacity


    Gov. John Bel Edwards
    Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards gives updates on the state's COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference at the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Photo by Wes Muller/LA Illuminator).

    Restaurants, retail shops and churches will be among the venues moving from 50 percent occupancy to 75 percent occupancy under the state’s new Phase 3 COVID-19 rules that will be released Friday afternoon, Gov. John Bel Edwards said in an interview with WWL Radio.

    The governor is expected to shared the full details of Phase 3 restrictions at a press conference at 2 p.m. — a couple of hours after his interview with former Jefferson Parish sheriff and current radio host Newell Normand took place.

    In his interview with Normand, Edwards said the only some types of businesses and venues will be able to increase their occupancy in Phase 3. Others will have to stay at a reduced capacity.

    Gyms, barber shops, salons, movie theaters, racetracks, museums and wedding venues are among those spaces that are supposed to be operated at just 50 percent occupancy under the restrictions that expire Friday. Casinos are also at 50 percent, but can have 75 percent of their gaming positions open. Bars, concert halls, music venues and amusement parks are completely shut down in the current Phase 2. Edwards did not mention whether Phase 3 would allow for changes to any of these venues.

    With the move to Phase 3, people will still be required to wear masks in businesses and public indoor spaces, the governor has said. Physical distancing of six feet will also be enforced in businesses – and venues will not be able to move to 75 percent occupancy if that distance cannot be maintained, Edwards said.

    The governor’s announcement about moving to Phase 3 comes as Louisiana passed 5,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 Friday, but the rate of positive cases on tests in Louisiana has continued to drop since July. On Sept. 4, Louisiana returned a rate of just under 7 percent positive cases among the tests administered — the lowest it has seen since early June.