Governor John Bel Edwards has announced that the deadline of his decision to enter Phase 3 of the coronavirus recovery plan is Thursday, meaning his decision will be released no later than September 10. Phase 2 has been enforced in Louisiana since early June, though masks were officially required as of July. Phase 2 also set a maximum capacity for restaurants and stores that reduces the amount of people allowed inside by half of their normal occupancy. Phase 2 guidelines are set for re-evaluation on September 11.
Labor Day complicates Governor Edward's decision to move into the next phase. It is unclear yet how many citizens followed the current guidelines by wearing masks, staying six feet apart from people beyond immediate family, and not gathering in large groups. If Labor Day did cause a spike in coronavirus cases in New Orleans, it is too early yet to tell. Because there may or not be dire consequences from Labor Day, the governor is hesitant to immediately move into Phase 3.
Phase 3 guidelines, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), consist of social distancing, reopening large venues with limited physical-distancing rules, reopening bars with more than half occupancy, and the reinstatement of visitors at senior living communities and hospitals. This is a big change from Phase 2, which closed common areas and encouraged employers to go online. Click here to read and review the CDC's suggested guidelines and protocols for each phase.
Meanwhile, the White House's Coronavirus Task Force has suggested that Governor Edwards does not reopen bars, even with limited occupancy. Additionally, Governor Edwards has expressed that he intends to keep masks mandated, regardless of the CDC's guidelines. Governor Edwards has stated that he is optimistic about the state's condition and is hoping that even after Labor Day, Louisiana can adopt Phase 3's guidelines, moving one step closer to "normal."