Following sustained improvements in COVID-19 hospitalizations and vaccinations, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the easing of some COVID-19 restrictions in Louisiana, including strict occupancy restrictions for bars and restaurants.
Salons and beauty shops, gyms and fitness centers, malls, and casinos also will not have capacity limits. Gov. Edwards made the announcement on Tuesday, March 30, and the loosened restrictions began Wednesday, March 31.
The Governor’s updated public health emergency order keeps the statewide mask mandatem, requirements for six feet of social distancing in all businesses, as well as other mitigation measures deemed necessary by the Louisiana Department of Health and the State Fire Marshal and posted on OpenSafely.La.gov. The order runs for 28 days and expires on April 28, 2021.
“At this point in the pandemic, our three best tools for slowing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping our hospitals operational are vaccinations, masks and distance,” Gov. Edwards said. “Right now, we have fewer people hospitalized with COVID-19 than we did this time last year, and we have a greatly improved supply of three highly effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines, which are available to everyone 16 and older in Louisiana. While COVID-19 and its variants remain a major public health risk, using the tools of vaccination, masking and distancing, we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. At least 20 states and one region of Louisiana are experiencing an increase in cases and hospitalizations, likely because of the U.K. variant. We aren’t yet out of the woods.
The Governor’s updated order removes the limitations on when bars and restaurants may serve alcohol, defaulting to local ordinances.
Businesses and venues that host larger gatherings, like receptions halls, will remain capped at 50 percent of their capacity, with a maximum gathering size of not more than 500 people indoors and strict social distancing. Outdoor events will be capped at 50 percent capacity and social distancing is also required. Some events may require prior approval by the State Fire Marshal. Businesses should visit OpenSafely.La.gov for more information.
Indoor and outdoor sporting events will be limited to 50 percent of their capacity, with social distancing. Masks are required under all circumstances.
“Vaccination is the best way we have to put this pandemic in our rearview mirror. While we work to vaccinate even more of our neighbors, now more than ever it is critical that people wear facemasks when they are in public and keep six feet of social distance between them and anyone who isn’t in their immediate household,” Gov. Edwards said. “Today we are taking an important step forward, but all of us play a role in making sure our cases don’t spike again. Get your vaccine now that it’s your turn and help your friends and family members get their shots as well. Working together, we can bring back Louisiana.”
Click here to read the order.