BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana's stay-home order does not expire until at least May 15, but movement in the state capitol could change that.
Republican lawmakers trying to unravel Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards' statewide order are moving legislation that would keep the governor from enforcing the restrictions.
The Democratic governor's decision to extend his stay-at-home order through mid-May has provoked criticism from Republicans who prefer a parish-by-parish approach.
A House committee voted 9-7 Wednesday to advance a proposal to strip Edwards' ability to penalize businesses that don't comply with his order for 15 days from passage. It would have to win support from the House and Senate to take effect.
It could be moot within days. Edwards will announce Monday, May 11 if he'll lessen the restrictions on May 16.
According to Edwards, "Phase 1" of reopening, per the guidelines created by the White House, requires a sustained downward trend of COVID-19 cases and symptoms across the state.
Under the first of the three reopening, businesses would face lighter restrictions. Restaurants, movie theaters, churches, gyms, and salons would re-open with strict physical distancing laws.
Groups will still need to contain fewer than 10 people, and people would return to work gradually.
Edwards announced the state's Stay at Home order would be extended at the end of April. Some services, however, were re-added to businesses at the start of May. This included restaurants being allowed to offer outdoor seating, and malls offering curbside pickup.
The changes to the Stay at Home Order went into effect on Friday, May 1.
- Malls will be closed to the public, but stores may open for curbside delivery
- Restaurants can open outside seating for customers to eat, but can not provide table service. They will still be take out only.
- Employees of businesses that are interacting with the public MUST wear masks or face covers.
Edwards also noted that non-essential retail stores have never been ordered closed, but must practice proper social distancing and can not have more than 10 people inside the store at any given time.
“While this is not the announcement I want to make, I am hopeful, and all of Louisiana should be hopeful, that we will enter into the next phase of reopening soon," Edwards said. "I am anxious to get all areas of our economy reopened, but if we accelerate too quickly, we may have to slam on the brakes. That will be bad for public health and for businesses, bad for our people and bad for our state.”