NEW ORLEANS — The easing of coronavirus-related restrictions on commerce and public gatherings in Louisiana is getting underway.
Drops in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and other positive trends led to the change announced this week by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Inside dining at restaurants, with strict limits on capacity, is allowed in most of the state Friday.
Shopping malls, fitness centers and hair and nail salons also are being allowed to open Friday in most of Louisiana.
New Orleans remains under tighter restrictions but begins loosening some of them on Saturday.
10 things you can do in Phase 1
Here are 10 things you can now do in Louisiana starting on May 16.
1. Go Out in Public
The guidelines will continue to avoid groups of 10 or more in situations where it is not possible to practice social distancing.
Part of the population most vulnerable to COVID-19 is still asked to stay at home as much as possible.
While Louisiana will not mandate that people wear masks, residents are strongly encouraged to do so to protect themselves and others.
2. Go to the mall - at least the big stores
Stores in shopping malls that have exterior doors accessible to the public will be allowed to reopen at 25% of their fire marshal allowed capacity.
Interior mall stores are only allowed to sell goods for curbside delivery only.
3. Go to a restaurant or coffee shop
Restaurants can begin offering sit-down dining at 25% of the fire marshal allowed capacity. There can be additional outdoor seating with appropriate social distancing.
4. See a Movie
Movie theaters can reopen to the public at 25% of the fire marshal allowed capacity, with new guidance on social distancing and sanitation.
5. Go to Church
Churches can conduct indoor services at 25% of fire marshal allowed capacity, and additional seating can be provided outdoors.
6. Go to a casino
Casinos and video poker can reopen with guidance from Louisiana's Gaming Control Board and the Louisiana Racing Commission. The locations can not have be filled more than 25% of their fire marshal allowed capacity and gaming positions.
Racetracks may reopen for races without spectators only if approved by the racing commission.
7. Workout at the Gym
Gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to reopen to the public at 25% of their fire marshal allowed capacity. State agencies will be issuing guidance on new social distancing and sanitization for these locations.
8. Go to the museum, Aquarium
Museums, zoos, and aquariums may be open to the public at 25% of their capacity, with no organized tours and no tactile exhibits.
Children's museums remain closed.
9. Go to the barber, nail salon
Barbers, hair salons, and nail salons may reopen to the public at 25% of their fire marshal allowed capacity. The state fire marshall will issue new guidance on social distancing for these businesses.
10. Go to (some) bars
Bars can reopen if they have a license to serve food. These businesses will operate under the same limits as restaurants - 25% allowed capacity and must have proper social distancing.
What Is Still Closed?
Massage parlors, tattoo parlors, spas must remain closed.
Youth sports and summer camps. Guidance to come soon with the Louisiana Department of Health.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.