Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a proclamation on Feb. 10 extending Louisiana’s modified Phase 2 guidelines, which include sensible restrictions meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 like a statewide mask mandate, for another 21 days. The new order is set to expire on March 3, 2021.
Hospitalizations and test positivity have improved in Louisiana, but cases are still very high and more people are in the hospital today than were last summer. January was the second deadliest month of the pandemic in Louisiana and, with Mardi Gras next week, Louisiana cannot afford to relax restrictions. Last year, before public health officials were warning against cancelling large events, COVID-19 was spread during Mardi Gras celebrations, leading to many cases and deaths in the New Orleans region.
“Our conduct should not change in the foreseeable future,” Gov. Edwards said. “Please, be very smart and very courteous about how you act and please wear your mask, distance, wash your hands frequently, stay home when you are sick, protect the vulnerable and, when you are able to do so, get vaccinated.”
Businesses are also encouraged to have as many workers as they can work remotely, as COVID is a major concern in Louisiana, especially as new variants have spread throughout the country, one of which has been confirmed in the state. The Governor also warned people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 already to continue to wear their masks and practice the other mitigation measures to protect those around them who have not yet received the vaccine.
Gov. Edwards announced his decision Tuesday afternoon at a vaccine event in Louisiana and signed the extension of the modified Phase 2 order on Wednesday.
Louisiana’s COVID-19 restrictions include the below:
- All Louisianans are encouraged to avoid gatherings of individuals not part of their households.
- All businesses, private and public sectors, should have as many employees work from home as they can.
- All restaurants are limited to 50% of their indoor capacity. Restaurants should move as much dining outdoors as they can. Social distancing is required.
- For bars in parishes above 5% positivity, bars are closed to indoor sales and consumption but open for outdoor consumption at tables only and at 25% capacity, with a maximum of 50 people. Social distancing is required. Take-out and delivery will still be available.
- Retail businesses may open at 50% capacity, except for essential businesses, as defined by federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
- Gyms may be open at 50% of their capacity.
- Places of worship will remain at a maximum of 75% of their capacity or the number of people who can physically distance with at least six feet between each immediate household, whichever is less.
- Barber and beauty shops, and nail salons may open at 50% of their capacity.
- Movie theaters may open at 50% of their capacity.
- Indoor gatherings at event/receptions centers are limited to 25% capacity or up to 75 individuals.
- Outdoor gatherings at event/reception centers are limited to 25% capacity or up to 150 individuals when strict physical distancing is not possible.
- All sporting events will be capped at 25% capacity.
- Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate is still in place.