“I am disappointed,” said State Senator Louis Bernard, “I had hoped this would be an avenue to start businesses back to work.” Bernard and Representative Gabe Firment would have preferred a different decision from the Governor.
Bernard said, “The Governor is taking the advice of the medical community. The medical team preaches still maintaining distancing to keep the numbers down. Businesses are significantly hurting, and many may not come back from this.” Bernard added the current situation is really tough and it is causing a lot of stress among business owners and their employees.
Firment said he had hoped the Governor would have implemented Phase 1 of President Trump’s Guidelines for Reopening America on a regional or parish by parish basis. Firment said, “A little perspective: Grant/LaSalle – 33 positive cases per LDH (Louisiana Department of Health). Orleans/Jefferson – 12,469 positive cases. But the Stay at Home Order was arbitrarily applied to the entire state.” Firment added, “More food for thought: We can pack hundreds of people into Lowes or Home Depot, but we are not allowed to worship in church one day a week. You can get an abortion, but you can’t get a haircut….
District 23 Representative Kenny Cox is concerned with opening up too quickly and the possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19. Cox said the Governor acted based upon the numbers of cases. Cox said, “What we’re seeing from the rural population, there is an uptick in Natchitoches and DeSoto parishes.”
Representative Cox is concerned with the economy. “Everyone wants to put folks back to work, but you have to follow the rules. If you make the wrong decision you could cost people their lives.”
Cox also is concerned with so many unknowns. He said, “No one can tell me you can’t be reinfected. My grandson told me ‘If you have the money and you are sick or die, what good is it?’ and that’s so.” Cox added, “Two weeks delay may not seem like a lot, but if you have a resurgence of the virus, then what.”
Bernard said there has been “a tsunami of applications coming in. It has clogged the system. The federal and state governments had nothing in place to handle the volume of applications.” Bernard told The Journal he has been working with local banks and they cannot get applications they have received into the system.
Representative Firment added, “Please know that myself and other conservative legislators in the state hear you loud and clear and are working to move our state forward in accordance with President Trump’s phased approach to reopening.”
Then there is the issue of payback. This has not been addressed at the state or federal level. Senator Bernard reminded us, “We will have to consider paying it back. It was almost unanimous in Congress that this had to be done. And I think we’ve learned a lot and to be better prepared next time.”