As promised, Gov. John Bel Edwards held a Friday afternoon press conference to provide details on what Phase 3 will look like when it starts at midnight Sept 12.
The new executive order will continue through at least Oct. 9. Highlights include:
- Restaurants, churches, salons, spas, gyms and most other busines will move to 75 percent occupancy.
- Bars will remain closed unless they are located in a parish that has a positivity rate of five percent or less for two consecutive weeks. The parish has to opt in to the opening bars in its jurisdiction and if it does bars located in that parish can operate at 25 percent capacity up to 50 people indoors and no more than 50 people outdoors. No live music. Drinks must be ordered and delivered to tables. Sales end at 10 p.m. and patrons must vacate by 11 p.m. Bars in parishes that do not meet this criteria or that do not opt-in can take advantage of other revenue-generating options, which include obtaining license to operate as a restaurant if possible. If the positivity rate in a parish goes back to 10 percent or higher, bars in the parish wIll close again.
- Social gatherings and other events can be held at facilities at 50 percent capacity up to 250 people indoors or outdoors.
- Casinos will remain at 50 percent capacity.
- Sporting events can take place at 25 percent capacity. No alcohol sales allowed.
- The state-wide mask mandate remains in place.
Edwards cautioned that mitigation measures such as social distancing, staying at home when sick, hand-washing and mask- wearing remain vital to combating the spread of COVID-19.
“What I want to do is encourage people to really take the mitigation steps seriously if you want to reopen the economy,” Edwards said, adding that while there may be opportunities for “modifications and adjustments” the state does not have much more room for reopening beyond Phase 3.
“There really isn’t a lot of room for moving forward until we get past the pandemic,” Edwards said. “We don’t go from 75 percent to 100 percent until the pandemic is over.”