The state of Louisiana will take the next step toward coronavirus recovery. On Tuesday, March 2, Governor John Bel Edwards stated that he will begin to loosen the coronavirus restrictions that have been in place for over three months, moving the state into Phase 3 of the reopening plan. This will allow most businesses operate at 75% capacity and bars to open statewide.
This will be the second time since the pandemic began that the state will be in Phase 3. With the rise of cases and hospitalizations around October and November of 2020, the governor decided to put more restrictions to mitigate that rise. Now, as cases and hospitalizations are dropping around the state, it is time to move forward. In the briefing on Tuesday, Gov. Edwards said the state is “currently moving in the right direction and have been for several weeks now.”
Restaurants and most other businesses will be allowed to expand from 50% to 75% occupancy. Bars will be able to open at 25% occupancy indoors in all parish, or 50% if their parish has seen 5% or less percent positivity (the share of COVID tests that come back positive). Event centers will be allowed to host gatherings of 50% occupancy or 250 people.
Gyms will remain at 50% occupancy. Live music will be allowed indoors if bars follow rules laid out by the state fire marshal. Events held indoors will be limited to 250 people or 50% occupancy, and outdoor events will be limited to 50% of capacity of the event space.
The state’s mask mandate will remain in effect, with the governor cautioning people to continue following precautions. The new rules take effect Wednesday, March 3, and lasts for 28 days.