6.3.20 – Monroe News-Star
Ready to raise a toast in a Louisiana bar with friends? How about getting some new ink at a tattoo shop?
Those establishments and more will be able to open Friday for the first time in more than two months after Gov. John Bel Edwards officially issued a proclamation Thursday to move Louisiana into Phase 2 of reopening Friday, June 5.
Edwards previewed his new order Monday, but it wasn’t official until he dropped the proclamation Thursday afternoon.
A separate order extends Edwards’ suspensions of foreclosures and evictions until June 15 and extends the suspension of many deadlines and penalties associated with the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles until July 31.
The governor’s new proclamation allows businesses already open to expand their operations and others to open for the first time since Edwards issued the first coronavirus stay-at-home order in March.ADVERTISING
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 can open for the first time since March 23.
Restaurants, casinos, retailers and churches that were allowed to open in Phase 1 can generally expand their occupancy capacity.
But restrictions remain on all businesses and places of worship in Phase 2, which will last at least 21 days.
Most of the businesses already open can expand from 25% occupancy to 50%. Casinos can open up 75% of their “gaming positions” like slot machines.Get the Storm Watch newsletter in your inbox.
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Bars will be limited to 25% of seated occupancy. Tattoo shops will have strict sanitation and time limit requirements.
Outdoor playgrounds and play centers can reopen, but children must be accompanied by an adult.
Indoor trampoline parks, arcades and outdoor amusement parks can’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.
Sleep-away children’s camps will remain closed during Phase 2. Nursing home visits will remain prohibited in Phase 2.
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.
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New Orleans officials have said their city won’t move into Phase 2 Friday because they need more data.
Edwards said Louisianans must remain mindful to take precautions that will continue to stem the spread.
“I do want to emphasize there are still risks involved, so everybody needs to take personal responsibility,” he said. “And you probably shouldn’t patronize businesses that don’t engage in the risk mitigations we’ve talked about.”
And the governor said the most important precaution is wearing masks.
“As we learn more about how this is spread the biggest risk is through airborne particles, so it makes it pretty clear to me wearing a mask is essential,” he said.
Edwards’ order doesn’t go far enough for some lawmakers like House Republican Caucus Chairman Blake Miguez, R-Erath, and Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry, who had previously backed the Democratic governor’s action.
Landry and Miguez were among a large group of mostly Republican lawmakers who sent a letter to Edwards asking him to open all businesses without “arbitrary occupancy restrictions.”
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.