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Louisiana: State-by-State COVID-19 Guidance

LOUISIANA

February 10, 2021:

On February 10, 2021, Louisiana issued an emergency order allowing certain medical professionals to administer COVID-19 vaccines by the prescribed protocol instead of a patient-specific order from a physician or prescribing practitioner.

February 9, 2021:

On February 9, 2021, Governor Edwards announced that Louisiana will extend the statewide phase-two coronavirus restrictions for 21 more days. COVID cases are trending down in Louisiana, but due to the presence of the United Kingdom variant, health officials believe an extension of the phase two restrictions are necessary. Furthermore, the state will open its first mass vaccination site at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.

February 8, 2021:

On February 8, 2021, the Louisiana Health Department released a list of 378 vaccine providers across the state that will receive the state’s very limited supply of COVID vaccine doses for the week of February 8.

February 4, 2021:

On February 4, 2021, Louisiana expanded its eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine. People 65 and older, unified command group members, state and local COVID-19 emergency response personnel and law enforcement, and March and April election workers are now eligible for vaccinations.

February 3, 2021:

On February 3, 2021, the Louisiana Department of Public Health announced that 56 Walmart locations within Louisiana will join the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. The partnership between the federal government and Walmart is expected to increase the vaccine supply in Louisiana, but officials cannot yet confirm how many doses Louisiana will receive. In addition, the office of public health announced that it will distribute 375 vaccine doses on Thursday, February 4 at the Southern University F.G. Clark Activity Center, 801 Harding Blvd., Baton Rouge 70807. Eligible individuals must register in advance.

February 2, 2021:

On January 29, 2021, the Louisiana Department of Public Health released a testing schedule which identifies where individuals can receive COVID-19 testing. Individuals are encouraged to pre-register. On February 1, 2021, the Louisiana Department of Public Health announced that 406 vaccine providers will receive COVID-19 vaccinations during the week of February 1.

January 28, 2021:

On January 28, Governor Edwards announced that state health officials are currently evaluating 14 potential cases of the new faster spreading United Kingdom variant of covid-19 in Louisiana. Governor Edwards warned that the spread of the new variant may cause a spike in hospitalizations and deaths in the next few months.

January 27, 2021:

On January 27, Governor Edwards administration announced that they are expecting a 16% increase in vaccine doses for the week of February 1- February 7.

January 25, 2021:

On January 22, the Louisiana Department of Public Health released a testing schedule for sites operated by the Louisiana National Guard. Individuals are encouraged to pre-register.

Furthermore, Governor Edwards announced that the state has launched the app Covid Defense which allows users to receive notifications informing them if there is a risk they were exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus. The app can be downloaded on Android or Apple.

On January 25, the Louisiana Department of Public Health announced that 324 vaccine providers will receive COVID vaccinations the week of January 25-January 31.

January 20, 2021:

On January 19, the Louisiana Department of Health told health providers Tuesday to stop limiting vaccinations to their own patients, warning they could lose out on future allocations of the vaccine or face penalties if they do not make the shots available to anyone who meets the current eligibility groups. Dr. Joe Kanter, Louisiana’s state health officer, wrote a letter to providers saying the agency has “received indications” some providers are limiting their vaccinations to people who had been patients of a hospital or clinic within recent months.

“To the extent that such discrimination is occurring, it must immediately cease,” Kanter wrote. He reminded providers they are subject to audits and “adverse action” could be considered if they are deemed to have “discriminated” between current patients of their facility and other members of the public.

January 18, 2021:

On January 16, the Louisiana Department of Health confirmed the state’s first identified case of the COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7., frequently referred to as the U.K. variant because it is prevalent in the United Kingdom, in an individual in the Greater New Orleans area.

This variant spreads more easily from one person to another than other viral strains currently circulating in the United States, though It has not been shown to cause more severe disease. Health experts believe current COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the variant strain.

The Department conducted a case investigation and contact tracing to identify, inform and monitor anyone who was in close contact with the individual, who has a reported history of travel outside of Louisiana. However, the variant strain has been detected in at least 15 other states and is likely circulating in Louisiana as well.

Because this variant strain is more contagious, it is more important than ever that Louisianans:

  • Wear masks,
  • Wash hands,
  • Practice distancing,
  • Avoid gatherings,
  • Stay home when sick,
  • Quarantine and get tested if exposed to a positive case, and
  • When it is your turn, consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Department has been preparing for this variant strain by participating in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national SARS-CoV-2 Strain Surveillance Program and has been sending bi-weekly samples to the CDC for sequencing since November 2020. The State Public Health Laboratory is also working with clinical laboratories throughout Louisiana to conduct targeted surveillance for suspect variant strains.

January 14, 2021:

On January 13, Governor Edwards announced the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth District denied an appeal by 21 bar owners seeking to overturn Governor Edwards’ mitigation measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana, marking the ninth time that a court has ruled in favor of the governor’s orders.

January 13, 2021:

On January 12, Governor Edwards extended his modified Phase 2 order, keeping COVID mitigation measures in place for another 28 days, and strongly recommended that all businesses in Louisiana move to remote work for as many employees as possible, as COVID cases and hospitalizations surge in Louisiana. The Governor’s statewide mask mandate also stays in place. The Governor’s new order expires on February 10, 2021.

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. For complete guidance on the new Phase 2, visit the Open Safely portal at opensafely.la.gov.

(Shreveport): On January 12, LSU Health Shreveport announced they are administering Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to those 70 and up starting Tuesday, January 12. Officials say the process is quick and promises to help vaccinate thousands of people in the coming weeks ahead. Each vehicle enters a tent, where the people are vaccinated and then the next vehicle goes through, with workers saying the average wait time is typically a little more than one hour. They are expecting as many as two thousand people a day. Officials say they had about five thousand vaccines on site and expect to go through those before Friday. Then, they will await the next shipment of vaccines.

Anyone interested in getting the vaccine should pre-register at https://redcap.link/LSU-PUBLIC-VACCINE-SURVEY or at http://www.lsuhs.edu. Preregistration is required and essential to minimizing wait time. Everyone seeking to get the vaccine should:

  • Bring their ID and insurance information even though they are preregistered
  • Wear a mask
  • Wear clothing with easy access to upper arm where vaccine will be administered
  • Individuals will remain in car to receive vaccine allowing for safest interaction between those receiving and giving vaccine.

If you preregistered and you are under the age of 70, please note you are NOT eligible to receive the vaccine for COVID-19 at this time. Please do not come to the Fairgrounds until your age has been announced as being eligible to receive the vaccine per CDC and LDH guidelines.

January 12, 2021:

On January 12, the Louisiana Supreme Court announced an order halting civil or criminal jury trials until March 1, 2021.

Grand jury and other in-person proceedings are not affected by the order and may continue. Local courthouses should limit access to courtrooms and other spaces to allow for physical distancing and capacity reductions. Courts are encouraged to conduct remote proceedings if possible.

Jury trials were suspended at the start of the pandemic but were allowed to proceed in July.

January 11, 2021:

On January 11, the Louisiana Department of Health nearly doubled the number of pharmacies and other providers administering vaccines to elderly patients across the state, as officials race to catch up with skyrocketing demand from patients over 70.

After delivering shipments of 100 vaccine doses each to 107 pharmacies last week, the Louisiana Department of Health said Monday it would send more doses to those pharmacies and 102 more this week. In all, 209 providers in all 64 parishes will get doses, the agency said, most of them pharmacies. They include 87 chain pharmacies, 93 independent pharmacies, 20 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), and 9 health care sites.

Pharmacies only received 10,500 doses last week. This week, doses will be available from several sources. Some will be directly shipped from Moderna, some are coming from a surplus at the state’s distributor and some clinics are making their extra doses available to the public.

It was not clear Monday morning how many doses would be available at the locations. Kevin Litten, a spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Health, said most pharmacies will receive 100 doses of Moderna's vaccine, while some in parishes without many providers enrolled received an order of 200 doses. Providers including 10 high-volume pharmacies, two federally qualified health centers and two Tier 1 hospitals placed requests for direct large shipments of 975 doses of Pfizer's vaccine.

January 6, 2021:

(New Orleans): On January 6, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced New Orleans will move back to a “modified Phase 1” which will limit businesses to 25% normal capacity and restrict gatherings of people not from the same household. These new restrictions will go into effect Friday, January 8, and will be in effect for three weeks, according to the post on ready.nola.gov, the city's emergency preparedness site. The post was removed shortly before 1:00 p.m. Mayor LaToya Cantrell is scheduled to provide an update on the coronavirus and the city's response at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. A City Hall spokesman said questions related to restrictions would be addressed then.

January 4, 2021:

On December 31, Governor Edwards announced that doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to pharmacies statewide in limited supply beginning January 4 to be administered to people 70 and older and additional health care workers.

The initial supply of vaccine will be extremely limited, and people must contact a designated pharmacy to make appointments before going in to be vaccinated. At this time, only people in Priority Group 1-B, Tier One, which is people 70 years and older and ambulatory and outpatient health care personnel, will be able to get the COVID vaccine at a designated pharmacy. Appointments are required; do not show up to a pharmacy for a vaccine without one.

Beginning Monday, the Louisiana Department of Health will list pharmacies where the COVID vaccine is available on its website, covidvaccine.la.gov. In the initial Phase 1B roll out, LDH anticipates that approximately 100 pharmacies in 52 parishes will receive around 10,500 doses total in the first week. Each eligible pharmacy will receive approximately 100 doses.

In the first two weeks of vaccination, 45,289 Louisianans have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is safe and effective against the virus. A second dose must be administered for people to gain fuller protection from COVID.

So far, 210,350 doses have been allocated for Louisiana, of which 56,200 have been designated for the federal Long Term Care Facilities partnership and reside with Walgreens and CVS. Vaccinations for residents and staff of long term care facilities, such as nursing homes, just started this week.

December 30, 2020:

On December 29, Governor Edwards announced the passing of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow, who was recently elected to represent Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District, from COVID-19.

December 22, 2020:

On December 22, Governor John Bel Edwards extended his modified Phase Two order, including Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate, to January 13, 2021, as hospitalizations have exceeded the level reached during the second surge in July. Louisiana’s COVID-19 restrictions include:

  • All Louisianans are encouraged to avoid gatherings of individuals not part of their households.
  • All businesses, private and public sectors, are encouraged to use remote work where 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.

For complete guidance on the new Phase 2, visit the Open Safely portal at opensafely.la.gov.

The Governor also declared an emergency for the elections in February, March and April of next year, per a request from the Secretary of State.

December 21, 2020:

On December 20, the Louisiana Department of Health announced it will receive 79,500 doses of the newly authorized Moderna COVID-19 vaccine this week, triggering a new phase of a distribution plan that will benefit nursing homes, hospitals and first responders. Of the 79,500 doses of Moderna's vaccine that will be distributed statewide this week, 35,900 will go to nursing homes and long-term care facilities, state officials said. The remaining 43,600 doses go to Louisiana hospitals, emergency medical services personnel and firefighters.

State officials announced the arrival of the vaccines Sunday, a week after Louisiana received 39,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and two days after the Food and Drug Administration gave emergency clearance to Moderna's version. Pfizer is still set to deliver another 28,275 doses of its version to hospitals this week. And health care workers who have already been vaccinated once will need their necessary second doses in the next two or three weeks, part of a winding process that isn't likely to make a dent in case numbers for several months.

The general population is not due to begin receiving the vaccine until mid-2021, by most estimates.

December 2, 2020:

On December 2, Governor Edwards announced that Louisiana is expecting vaccine distribution in the next few weeks. Louisiana is anticipating 40,000 doses in the first week of the Pfizer vaccine distribution, and an additional 40,000 doses in the next week. After that, Governor Edwards expects to get more vaccines weekly once more vaccines are approved, such as Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. Governor Edwards stated that Louisiana will act in good faith based off what the White House Coronavirus Task Force suggests when it comes to who will receive the first batches of vaccines.

According to Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the goal is to give medical workers the vaccine first, but if hospitals are overwhelmed with patients a case could be made to give vaccines to those in the hospital first. Admiral Giroir said that vaccine distribution is now at the "microplanning" phase. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is reaching out to state's National Guard units as well as pharmacies, which is the last step before vaccines are distributed.

November 24, 2020:

On November 24, Governor Edwards announced that the aggressive third surge of COVID-19 across all regions of Louisiana has made it necessary to impose tighter mitigation measures and step back to Phase 2 in order to protect public health.

The Governor’s updated Phase 2 proclamation, which is slightly modified from the summer, takes effect on Wednesday, November 25. The order will run for four weeks. The Governor intends to keep these restrictions in place at least through the end of the year.

It calls for reducing occupancy at some businesses, decreasing gathering sizes, limiting indoor consumption at many bars and urges everyone in Louisiana to avoid gatherings with people outside of their everyday households. Major changes to Louisiana’s COVID-19 restrictions include:

  • 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 must operate 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. The State Fire Marshal will put out additional COVID mitigation measures to make services safer.
  • 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, which has been in place since mid-July, will continue. In addition, Governor Edwards encourages any business that can allow its employees to work remotely to do so. He has directed all state agencies to do the same. For complete guidance on the new Phase 2, visit the Open Safely portal at opensafely.la.gov.

November 19, 2020:

On November 18, Governor John Bel Edwards and Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson welcomed the award of $2.4 million in federal funds to spur business recovery throughout Louisiana in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. LED will match $600,000 in state funds for a $3 million initiative. The department will work with economic developers statewide on recovery-focused efforts to retain and attract small and large businesses.

The EDA grant represents $2.4 million in CARES Act recovery assistance, part of a $1.5 billion package of economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic. In Louisiana, LED will survey key economic development organizations and small business service-providers to identify COVID-19 recovery projects. Those efforts will focus on local projects designed to have maximum impact on the state’s economic recovery.

November 12, 2020:

On November 12, Governor John Bel Edwards announced that Judge William Morvant in the 19th Judicial District rejected a petition filed by members of the Louisiana House of Representatives to overturn Governor Edwards’ COVID mitigation strategies, which argued that the law used to submit it was unconstitutional. As such, Louisiana remains in Phase 3, which includes a statewide mask mandate.

October 26, 2020:

On October 26, 2020, Governor Edwards filed a lawsuit in state court defending Louisiana’s COVID-19 public health emergency proclamation. The proclamation has been challenged by a group of members of the state House of representatives who, in an effort to terminate the Governor’s proclamation, signed a petition declaring the public health emergency was over on October 23, 2020. Governor Edwards’ lawsuit asks the state district court in Baton Rouge to declare the section of law used by those members of the House of Representatives to terminate the Governor’s public health emergency proclamation by petition unconstitutional. The lawsuit also argues that the members’ petition was improperly filed because they failed to consult the state’s public health authority before signing the petition.

October 22, 2020:

On October 22, Governor Edwards amended his Phase 3 order as it relates to outdoor high school sports to allow outdoor stadiums in parishes with lower rates of positive COVID-19 tests to move from 25 percent capacity up to 50 percent capacity. In order to be eligible, parishes must have a COVID-19 positivity rate of less than five percent for two consecutive weeks based on the most recent report from the Louisiana Department of Health.

This approach is similar to the approach Governor Edwards has taken with reopening bars. As with bars, if a parish’s percent positivity rate exceeds more than 10 percent for two consecutive weeks, the parish must return to the 25 percent capacity limit. This new order is effective October 23, 2020 and will remain in effect at least until the Phase 3 order expires on November 6, 2020.

Currently 26 parishes, including Orleans, East Baton Rouge, Iberia, and Lafayette are eligible to participate. This change does not apply to any college, professional, or indoor sports.

October 21, 2020:

On October 16, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) issued a letter updating the state’s guidance regarding COVID-19 testing requirements at nursing homes in Louisiana. The letter updates the Louisiana Department of Health’s recommendations for serial testing of nursing home residents and staff, including guidelines for testing frequency, as well as authorizing the use of antigen tests and reporting the results of those antigen tests to the LDH. This guidance was issued in furtherance of Governor Edwards’ commitment that the state will quickly implement new federal guidance to expand nursing home visitation.

On October 15, the southwestern Louisiana Department of Public Health added two COVID-19 mobile test sites to aid in Hurricane Delta recovery. The testing will be available in DeRidder and Oakdale from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. between October 19, 2020 through October 23, 2020.

October 13, 2020:

On October 13, Governor John Bel Edwards announced that COVID-19 testing sites are re-opening this week in areas impacted by Hurricane Delta. Testing in the Acadiana region will resume Tuesday, October 13.

October 12, 2020:

On October 8, Governor Edwards announced that Louisiana will stay in Phase 3 until at least November 6, keeping its COVID-19 mitigation measures, including a continued statewide mask mandate, in place for another 28 days.

Governor Edwards stated, “We know that as schools return to in person learning, restaurants and bars open even more widely and more events begin, there is more risk to spreading COVID. I also remain incredibly concerned about how Hurricane Delta will impact our ability to operate community testing and also displace people in ways that may lead to spread.”

On October 5, Governor Edwards announced that alcohol could be sold at sporting events in parishes that qualified and had opted in to re-open bars for on-site alcohol consumption, which is the only major change in the Governor’s Phase 3 order.

In addition, the Louisiana State Fire Marshal will issue guidance for fairs and festivals, which will allow event producers to submit a plan for approval. No outdoor fair or festival shall have more than 500 people.

October 6, 2020:

On October 5, Governor John Bel Edwards announced that alcohol may be served at sporting events in parishes that qualify and have opted in to open bars, beginning this weekend. The Governor will include this change in his updated public health emergency order, which will be issued later this week. The current order expires this Friday, October 9.

In a message to athletics’ leaders, the Governor’s office outlined guidance for alcohol sales at sporting events, including:

  • Alcohol may only be sold to customers who return to their ticketed seats to consume it.
  • Crowd managers and signage must be used to explain that standing consumption is not allowed.
  • Alcohol may only be sold to people who are wearing face coverings.
  • No alcohol may be sold after 11 p.m.
  • The stadium must comply with all guidance and regulations set forth by the State Fire Marshal or the Commissioner of Alcohol and Tobacco Control

September 21, 2020:

On September 17, Governor John Bel Edwards altered his Phase 3 order to allow the on premises sale and consumption of alcohol until 11 p.m. at restaurants, casinos and bars in parishes that are eligible to opt in to reopen bars. However, all bars must still close by 11 p.m.

The Governor’s order previously ended the sale or service of alcohol for on-site consumption at 10 p.m. as part of mitigation measures recommended by the White House and designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 across the state. While bars remain closed for on-site consumption in some areas, in parishes with lower incidence of COVID, local government may opt in to open their bars. Four parishes that are eligible have opted in so far: Acadia, Jefferson Davis, St. Landry and Plaquemines.

On September 18, Governor John Bel Edwards announced Louisiana will move to quickly implement new guidance from the federal government easing restrictions on visits to nursing homes during the COVID pandemic. The new guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services late Thursday allows nursing homes to conduct outdoor visitation with social distancing. Nursing homes located in parishes with no more than 10 percent test positivity and without any new onset of COVID cases in the last 14 days can allow indoor visitation. CMS does recommend a number of mitigation measures, including that nursing homes limit how many visitors a resident can have at one time, as well as limiting the number of visitors that can be in the facility at once. The guidance also provides that face coverings, social distancing of at least six feet between people should be adhered to at all times and that all visitors must be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, including fever.

September 14, 2020:

On September 11, Governor Edwards released details of his proclamation moving Louisiana’s response to COVID-19 to Phase 3. The new order will be in place for 28 days, expiring on October 9. In it, restaurants, churches, salons, spas, gyms and other businesses will be able to open at a maximum of 75% of their occupancy, with social distancing in place. The statewide mask mandate will stay in place under the new order.

For now, bars will remain closed to on-premises consumption in parishes with a high incidence of COVID as evidenced by their test positivity rate, which is a continued recommendation of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, as cases among young people and in college towns continue to grow. Governor Edwards’ order also outlines how bars may begin to re-open for on-premises consumption in Louisiana in Phase 3, based on the percent positivity of the parish for a two-week period. Parishes with a positivity rate of 5% or lower for two consecutive weeks may opt-in to open bars for on premises consumption, under the restrictions in the Governor’s order. This two-week percent positivity will be updated every two weeks by the Louisiana Department of Health, with the next update scheduled for September 16.

When re-opened, bars will be able to open at 25% capacity, up to 50 people, indoors for customers seated for tableside service. They may have no more than 50 customers outdoors, socially distanced, seated for tableside service. No live music will be allowed. All drinks must be ordered at the table and delivered by bar staff to the table. Sale and service of alcohol at bars, when they reopen, must end at 10:00 p.m., with all patrons cleared from the building by 11:00 p.m. When re-opened, no one under the age of 21 is permitted in any bar. Phase 3 also prohibits the sale or service of alcohol for on premises consumption at all establishments, including restaurants and casinos, after 10:00 p.m.

Indoor social gatherings, like weddings or receptions, will be limited to the lesser of 250 people or 50% capacity of the facility. Outdoors, crowd sizes are limited to 50% capacity, up to 250 people, if people will be in close proximity and social distancing is not possible. Casinos will stay at 50% capacity and 75% of their gaming positions under the new order. Sporting events, like college football games, will operate at a lesser capacity of 25% and without alcohol sales.

Nursing home visitation will be prohibited in Phase 3, but the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) is working on a pilot program to begin to allow visitation at nursing homes with no new cases for 14 days and in parishes without high numbers of COVID-19. LDH will release details in the coming days.

August 26, 2020:

On August 26, Governor John Bel Edwards signed an order that extends Phase Two and the statewide mask mandate, closure of bars to on-site consumption and gathering size limits in Louisiana for another two weeks, until September 11, 2020.

August 24, 2020:

On August 21, Governor John Bel Edwards announced that the U.S. Western District of Louisiana has upheld his order closing on-site consumption at bars.

August 19, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards announced that he signed an order declaring that an emergency exists for Louisiana’s November election because of COVID-19. Governor Edwards also acknowledged that the current emergency election plan from the Secretary of State does not go far enough to protect public health.

August 10, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards signed an extension of his order keeping Louisiana in Phase Two and extending the emergency provisions, including the statewide mask mandate, the closure of bars to on-premises consumption, and the limitation on gatherings of more than 50 people for at least another 21 days, through Friday, August 28.

July 27, 2020:

(New Orleans): New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced that effective Saturday, July 25, at 6 a.m., New Orleans is prohibiting all takeout and drive-thru alcohol sales. Bars and restaurants, regardless of whether they have a Louisiana Department of Health food permit, will no longer be allowed to make takeout or drive-thru sales of alcoholic beverages. Mayor Cantrell also emphasized that New Orleans will continue with its current restrictions, including: (1) limiting indoor gatherings to 25 individuals; (2) limiting outdoor gatherings to 50 individuals; and (3) all gathering participants must wear masks and practice social distancing.

July 22, 2020:

(New Orleans): New Orleans Public Schools announced that students will start the school year with distance learning, with the goal of returning students to in-person learning after Labor Day. Families can expect to hear additional details on start of schools from their individual schools starting on July 22, 2020.

July 21, 2020:

Governor Jon Bel Edwards announced that he will extend Louisiana’s current Phase Two order, which also includes a statewide mask mandate, limits indoor social gatherings to 50 people and prohibits on-premises consumption of alcohol at bars for another two weeks, as COVID-19 incidence remains high across the state and hospitalizations continue to rise. All of the latest restrictions outlined in the Phase Two order are in keeping with recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

The new order is set to expire on August 7, 2020.

July 20, 2020:

Governor Jon Bel Edwards announced that due to overwhelming response, phase one of the Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance Program (LERAP) application process has been temporarily suspended, but interested persons can continue to sign up for notification of the opening of future phases.

July 16, 2020:

On July 16, Governor Jon Bel Edwards announced the launch of what will be at least a $24 million emergency rental assistance program for renters experiencing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor Edwards also signed House Bill 70 to establish a rebate for certain essential critical infrastructure workers.

July 13, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 9 into law to provide for the transfer, deposit, and use of monies among state funds in response to COVID-19.

The Governor also announced a mandatory mask requirement for Louisiana and ordered bars in the state closed to on-premises consumption. The statewide mask mandate allows for parishes without high COVID-19 incidence to opt out if they choose. The Governor also limited indoor social gatherings like wedding receptions, class reunions and parties to 50 total people. Outdoor social gatherings are also limited to 50 people if individuals cannot avoid being within six feet of one another. With these additional restrictions, Louisiana remains in Phase Two of the Roadmap for a Resilient Louisiana. This new order goes into effect Monday, July 13 at 12:01 a.m. until July 24, 2020.

The order requires face coverings for everyone ages 8 and older except for the following:

  • Anyone who has a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering
  • Anyone who is consuming a drink or food
  • Anyone who is trying to communicate with a person who is hearing impaired
  • Anyone who is giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience
  • Anyone temporarily removing his or her face covering for identification purposes

Anyone who is a resident of a parish without a high COVID incidence that has opted out of the masking mandate.

July 9, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards signed the following bills into law from the 2020 Special Legislative Session:

  • ACT 6—HB 29, which makes supplemental appropriations for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 for expenses related to COVID-19.
  • ACT 9—HB 59, which provides relative to limitations of liability for public and private school districts and postsecondary institutions during a declared state of emergency. This Act shall be retroactive to March 11, 2020.

Further, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the state’s budget for the FY 20-21 operating year, preserving funding for critical health care, workforce and education services that are needed during the pandemic. Gov. Edwards vetoed a provision that impermissibly delayed pay raises for classified state employees and other provisions that sequestered funds appropriated to the executive branch. He also vetoed more than $9 million in new spending.

Finally, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that $50 million through the CARES Act for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund is now available for K-12 schools and Higher Education. Approximately $35 million will be made available to the Louisiana Dept. of Education and $15 million to the Board of Regents.

July 1, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards signed House Bill No. 5 into law from the 2020 Special Legislative Session, which provides for the emergency suspension of time limitations in certain civil proceedings. The bill authorizes the Supreme Court of Louisiana to enter necessary and appropriate orders to suspend (a) all prescriptive and preemptive periods and (b) the period of abandonment for a period of time not to exceed ninety days.

June 30, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards signed House Bill No. 5 into law from the 2020 Special Legislative Session, which provides for the emergency suspension of time limitations in certain civil proceedings. The bill authorizes the Supreme Court of Louisiana to enter necessary and appropriate orders to suspend (a) all prescriptive and preemptive periods and (b) the period of abandonment for a period of time not to exceed ninety days.

June 29, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards formally extended Phase Two of reopening in Louisiana for another 28 days, as new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase across the state. The new extended order leaves in place occupancy and other restrictions from the previous Phase Two order. However, the new extended order adds a crowd size limit of 250 to indoor gatherings. While individuals are only strongly encouraged to wear masks or face coverings, businesses are required to have their employees wear a mask or a face covering when interacting with the public.

June 25, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards released new public service announcements urging the people of Louisiana to remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families as the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to rise across the state. The First Lady also released a PSA encouraging parents to set good examples for children as we work to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Louisiana Department of Education and the Louisiana Department of Health released guidelines on how schools across the state can reopen for the 2020-2021 school year by taking actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. While each district will ultimately decide how schools will operate, they encourage districts to prepare for three possible reopening scenarios: traditional, hybrid or distance/remote learning. In addition, they explain how health requirements will change based on the three reopening phases.

June 22, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana will stay in Phase Two of reopening rather than entering Phase Three, as the number of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations have started to rise in several regions across the state. The Governor will extend his Phase Two order for another 28 days, keeping in place occupancy limits and other restrictions.

June 17, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards signed a number of bills into law on June 17. These include:

  • Senate Bill No. 189, creating special funds for the deposit of certain federal monies in the state treasury for response to COVID-19. 
  • Senate Bill No. 763, regarding a gubernatorial declaration of an abnormal economic disruption. Upon the declaration of an abnormal economic disruption by the Governor, a person is prohibited for fifteen days from charging any other person a price for various goods or services that is grossly in excess of the price generally charged for the same or similar goods or services in the usual course of business.
  • House Bill No. 781, declaring that firearms and ammunition manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, suppliers, retailers, and shooting ranges are essential businesses and operations for purposes of safety and security and shall not be prohibited or restricted from operating or conducting business during a declared emergency or disaster.
  • House Bill No. 836, to provide for the waiver of certain licensing requirements in the event of a declared state of emergency, such as COVID-19.
  • House Bill No. 826, to provide a limitation of liability for COVID-19, so that no person, state or local government, or political subdivision shall be liable for injury or death resulting from exposure to COVID-19 in the course of business operations unless the person, government, or political subdivision failed to substantially comply with the applicable COVID-19 procedures established by the federal, state, or local agency which governs the business. However, they may be found liable if they commit gross negligence or wanton or reckless misconduct. 

June 2, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards announced that following continued improvement in Louisiana’s COVID-19 outlook and a significant increase in testing capacity and contact tracing, Louisiana is ready to move to Phase 2 of the White House’s reopening strategy on June 5, 2020. Governor Edwards will sign the official order for Phase 2 of a Resilient Louisiana by Thursday evening, with guidance being issued to individual industries and businesses via the OpenSafely.la.gov website throughout the week.

Phase 2 in Louisiana will last at least 21 days. In Phase 2, churches, places of worship and many more businesses will be able to operate at 50% capacity with social distancing, masks for public-facing employees and increased sanitation.

Additionally, the following businesses will be able to open at 50% occupancy: (1) restaurants, cafes and coffee shops; (2) shopping malls (including food courts, following restaurant guidance); (3) gyms and fitness centers; (4) barber and beauty shops and nail salons; (5) movie theaters; (6) racetracks (not open to spectators); (7) museums (including children’s museums), zoos, aquariums (no tactile exhibits); (8) bars and breweries with LDH food permits; (9) massage establishments, spas, and tattoo establishments (under strict guidance from LDH); (10) esthetician services (under strict guidance from the Cosmetology Board); (11) pool halls, bowling alleys and skating rinks (children must be accompanied by an adult); (12) event centers and wedding venues; and (13) outdoor playgrounds and play centers (children must be accompanied by an adult).

Casinos and video poker establishments may open at 50% occupancy, but limited to 75% of their gaming positions, with spacing to allow for social distancing and with enhanced sanitation. Plans must be submitted to the Gaming Control Board which will issue guidance to these facilities.

Bars and breweries that do not have LDH food permits will be able to open with strict social distancing requirements and patrons seated at 25% occupancy.

The following businesses must remain closed: carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, fairs, contact sports, children’s indoor play centers, theme parks, concert and music halls, and other similar businesses. Live entertainment is not permitted inside any building or indoor function.

May 15, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards signed Executive Order 58 JBE 2020, shifting Louisiana into Phase One. The order goes into effect May 15, 2020. New types of businesses that may open beginning on May 15, with 25 percent occupancy limits, sanitation guidelines and spacing for physical distancing include: (1) restaurants, cafes and coffee shops; (2) shopping malls; (3) gyms and fitness centers; (4) barber and beauty shops, and nail salons; (5) movie theaters; (6) racetracks (not open to spectators); (7) museums, zoos, aquariums (no tactile exhibits); and (8) bars and breweries with LDH food permits.

Casinos and video poker establishments may open on May 18, at 25 percent occupancy and with 50 percent of their gaming positions, spaced out to allow for social distancing and with enhanced sanitation. Gaming facilities must have a plan approved by the Gaming Control Board prior to reopening.

The following businesses remain closed: massage establishments and spas, tattoo parlors, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, trampoline parks, arcades, fairs, bars and breweries without LDH food permits, pool halls, bowling alleys, contact sports, children’s play centers, playgrounds, theme parks, adult entertainment venues, and other similar businesses.

Governor John Bel Edwards extended legal deadlines that had previously been delayed in March. The order also suspended other provisions necessary to respond to this disaster. These deadlines, including the moratorium on evictions, will continue until June 5.

May 12, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana will move to Phase One under the White House COVID-19 guidance this Friday, May 15, which removes the Stay at Home order for Louisianans and allows additional businesses to open under strict occupancy, protection and social distancing guidelines. Governor Edwards will issue an updated proclamation, the Roadmap to a Resilient Louisiana: Phase One, on Thursday, May 14, which will detail the categories of businesses that can be open and those which must remain closed. This plan will adopt every major recommendation of the White House plan in Phase One.

All non-essential Phase One businesses and churches will be limited to 25% of their total occupancy. All Phase One businesses and churches must have their employees who deal with the public in face coverings or cloth masks and enforce social distancing. The 25% occupancy rate is based on the advice of public health officials who recommend that people generally have 110 square feet around them. This occupancy capacity includes customers and employees.

With the exception of gaming establishments, no church leader or business owner is required to register or to get approval of their opening plans in advance.

New types of businesses that may open beginning on May 15, with 25% occupancy limits, sanitation guidelines and spacing for physical distancing include: (1) gyms and fitness centers; (2) barber shops and hair and nail salons; (3) casinos and Video Poker; (4) theaters; (5) racetracks (not open to spectators); (5) museums, zoos, aquariums (no tactile exhibits); and (6) bars and breweries with LDH food permits.

The following businesses will remain closed: (1) massage establishments and spas; (2) tattoo parlors; (3) carnivals; (4) amusement parks; (5) water parks; (6) trampoline parks; (7) arcades; (8) fairs; (9) bars and breweries without LDH food permits; (10) pool halls; (11) contact sports; (12) children’s play centers; (13) playgrounds; (14) theme parks; (15) adult entertainment venues; and (16) other similar businesses.

May 11, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Department of Health outlined a plan for COVID-19 testing and tracking that would hire as many as 700 Louisianans to serve as “contact tracers,” interviewing and advising people who have tested positive to determine who in their lives could also be at risk.

May 1, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards signed an order formally extending Louisiana’s Stay at Home order until May 15.

In a statement, the governor reiterated that “many businesses in Louisiana are allowed to open and operate as long as their employees wear face masks or coverings, limit the number of people on premises as outlined in the order and enforce social distancing. Businesses owners will need to review the order to be sure that they understand if their business may be open and how it may operate, if it is. In the coming days we will be providing additional information and tools to help business owners understand the guidance for Phase 1 so that they can protect the health and safety of their customers and their employees.”

April 28, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards announced he will extend Louisiana’s Stay at Home order until May 15 to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. Governor Edwards explained that Louisiana does not currently meet the White House criteria for entering Phase One of reopening.

April 21, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards has announced that Louisiana is using the guidelines from the federal government to begin reopening the state for business, but the state has not yet met all the federal criteria to move into phase one of reopening the state's economy. The governor anticipates the state being ready by May 1.

The Louisiana Department of Health issued a revised order for medical and surgical procedures. The revised guidance, which goes into effect April 27, states medical and surgical procedures shall only be performed under the following conditions: (1) in order to treat an emergency medical condition; (2) to avoid further harms from an underlying condition or disease; and (3) and for time sensitive conditions. Additionally, the order states dental visits, procedures and surgeries shall only be performed for the same three reasons.

April 16, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards signed a proclamation closing K-12 public schools in Louisiana to students until the end of the current school year, with students getting their education via remote learning, as the state continues to fight the spread of COVID-19.

The Governor also announced the creation of Resilient Louisiana, a state commission charged with examining Louisiana’s economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic and making recommendations for more resilient business-related activities and commerce in the coming months.

April 14, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards has postponed Louisiana’s Presidential Preference Primary election to July 11, 2020 because of the COVID-19 outbreak in the state. The July 25, 2020 election has been rescheduled for August 15, 2020.

April 8, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards today signed a proclamation related to unemployment and other issues related to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. The proclamation addresses various issues related to unemployment and workers’ compensation and also deems health care workers and first responders who work for the state as essential for purposes of the federal Family First Coronavirus Response Act.

April 3, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards today formally extended his Stay at Home order until April 30. School closures will continue through April 30 and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is in the process of determining what could potentially happen beyond April 30.

April 2, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards signed a proclamation that eases medical licensure laws to make it easier for health care professionals from out-of-state to come to Louisiana to practice during the COVID-19 outbreak and directs funerals to occur as expeditiously as possible, and designates them as “essential businesses.”

March 27, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards and Secretary Don Pierson of Louisiana Economic Development announced the opening of an LED help desk that provides email and hotline support for Louisiana businesses impacted by COVID-19.

March 23, 2020:  

Governor John Bel Edwards is requesting a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Louisiana from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as the number of cases of COVID-19 grows and the state’s efforts to combat the spread of illness intensifies. The declaration would allow the federal government to provide additional support for state and local agencies in dealing with this growing public health threat.

March 22, 2020:  

Governor John Bel Edwards declared a statewide Stay-At-Home order for “non-essential businesses.”

An activity is “essential” if it fits into one of the following specific categories:

  • Obtaining food, medicine, and other similar goods for an individual or family member of the individual
  • Obtaining non-elective medical care and treatment and other similar vital services for an individual or a family member of the individual
  • Going to and from work to perform a job to provide goods and services being sought regarding food, medicine, and other similar goods, or as otherwise deemed essential. Louisiana directed workers to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on what individuals may be deemed “essential.”
  • Going to and from the home of a family member
  • Going to and from an individual’s place of worship.
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, provided six feet are between people and there is a ten-person limitation on gathering size limited in the proclamation.

The CISA recommendations identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing management functions, among others. The industries they support represent, but are not necessarily limited to, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement, and public works.

CISA defines “critical manufacturing” as “essential.” This includes “workers necessary for the manufacturing of materials and products needed for medical supply chains, transportation, energy, communications, food and agriculture, chemical manufacturing, nuclear facilities, the operation of dams, water and wastewater treatment, emergency services, and the defense industrial base.”

Businesses not closed by this order, those that are not “essential”, are to reduce operations to continue with minimum contact with members of the public and only essential employees, while requiring proper social distancing. The ten-person limitation is to apply to business operations.

Furthermore, all gatherings of ten or more people shall be postponed or cancelled, but this does not apply to airports, medical facilities, office buildings, factories or manufacturing facilities, or grocery stores.

March 20, 2020:  

New Orleans Mayor, LaToya Cantrell, issued a Stay-At-Home mandate for those in New Orleans not involved in an “essential” service.

“Essential” service providers, include, but are not limited to: healthcare operations; grocery stores; food cultivators; businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services; businesses necessary for required construction and/or infrastructure projects, media services; gas stations; financial institutions; hardware stores; businesses providing mailing and shipping services; laundromats; restaurants doing takeout and delivery; private transportation providers; professional services (e.g., legal, accounting, etc.); childcare facilities; facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children; service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of businesses or residences (e.g., plumbers, electricians, exterminators, security personnel); businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home; businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate; businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods, or services directly to residences; and more.

“Essential” service providers are to still comply with social distancing guidelines. Businesses not considered “essential” should have the least number of staff on the premises to continue basic operations and must fully comply with social distancing requirements.

March 19, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards announced that small businesses in all 64 Louisiana parishes will have access to federal Small Business Administration disaster aid in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

March 18, 2020:  

State Health Officer, Jimmy Guidry, released guidelines to limit all elective health procedures.

March 16, 2020:  

Governor John Bel Edwards ordered casinos, bars, gyms and fitness centers, and movie theaters to close. He also limited restaurants to shift towards delivery, drive-through and takeout only. The Governor further limited the size of gatherings to fewer than 50 people.

March 13, 2020:  

Governor John Bel Edwards signed an executive order postponing Louisiana’s upcoming elections including the presidential primary. The elections scheduled for April and May will take place in June and July.

Governor John Bel Edwards signed a proclamation that immediately halts any gathering of more than 250 people until April 13, though airports, medical facilities, shopping centers or malls, office buildings, factories or manufacturing facilities, or grocery or departments stores are exempted. The order may be extended beyond April 13 by further order. The proclamation also closes all K-12 public schools statewide effective March 16 until April 13.

March 12, 2020:  

The Louisiana Department of Health ordered healthcare facilities to restrict visitors to those deemed “essential, vital, or necessary to the care and well-being of the patients, clients, and residents.”

March 11, 2020:  

Governor John Bel Edwards declared a public health emergency to allow state agencies to thoroughly prepare for any issue related to public health needs and to deploy additional resources to assist local authorities.

March 2, 2020:

Governor John Bel Edwards announced the creation of a COVID-19 Task Force.

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