BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has a created an 18-member commission to help the state plot a course for eventually reopening businesses shuttered during the fight against the new coronavirus, he announced Thursday.
Edwards said the commission will include Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser. The state death toll grew by 53 Thursday. But there have been hopeful signs in terms of the rate of people needing hospitalization and ventilators.
Edwards said the group would be charged with how to: "Get businesses open, workers back to work, but in a way that adequately protects public health."
Edwards stressed Thursday that reopenings won't be immediate. He said stay-at-home orders have been crucial in stopping the spread of the disease.
He also stressed that people shouldn't think that reopening the economy will mean that things are returning to normal.
"We're not going to get back to normal until we have a vaccine and some effective therapeutic treatments but we aren't going to wait until then before we start to reopen the economy, get businesses back open and people back to work."
Edwards said the goal is to balance the demands of promoting public health and minimizing the spread of COVID-19 and the demands on the hospitals with reopening the economy.
Congressman Steve Scalise, who will be part of President Trump's council advising on the reopening of the economy, also addressed the balance.
"We're not talking about picking a choice between safety and economic recovery - we can do both and we have to do both."
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