Some restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana, including strict occupancy restrictions for bars and restaurants, will be eased this week following sustained improvements in COVID-19 hospitalizations and vaccinations, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced on March 30. Social distancing of six feet will still be required in businesses and Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate remains in place.
“At this point in the pandemic, our three best tools for slowing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping our hospitals operational are vaccinations, masks and distance,” Gov. Edwards said. “Right now, we have fewer people hospitalized with COVID-19 than we did this time last year, and we have a greatly improved supply of three highly effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines, which are available to everyone 16 and older in Louisiana. While COVID-19 and its variants remain a major public health risk, using the tools of vaccination, masking and distancing, we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. At least 20 states and one region of Louisiana are experiencing an increase in cases and hospitalizations, likely because of the U.K. variant. We aren’t yet out of the woods.
“Vaccination is the best way we have to put this pandemic in our rearview mirror. While we work to vaccinate even more of our neighbors, now more than ever it is critical that people wear facemasks when they are in public and keep six feet of social distance between them and anyone who isn’t in their immediate household,” Gov. Edwards said. “Today we are taking an important step forward, but all of us play a role in making sure our cases don’t spike again. Get your vaccine now that it’s your turn and help your friends and family members get their shots as well. Working together, we can bring back Louisiana.”
The Governor’s updated public health emergency order keeps requirements for six feet of social distancing in all businesses, as well as other mitigation measures deemed necessary by the Louisiana Department of Health and the State Fire Marshal. The order runs for 28 days and expires on April 28, 2021.
The Governor’s updated order removes the limitations on when bars and restaurants may serve alcohol, defaulting to local ordinances. People younger than 21 are still not allowed inside bars and bars are only allowed to provide patrons with socially distanced seated service, under the new order.
Salons and beauty shops, gyms and fitness centers, malls and casinos also will not have capacity limits, though social distancing and the mask mandate remain in place along with any other additional measures that may be required by the State Fire Marshal.
Businesses and venues that host larger gatherings, like reception halls, will remain capped at 50 percent of their capacity, with a maximum gathering size of not more than 500 people indoors and strict social distancing. Outdoor events will be capped at 50 percent capacity and social distancing is also required. Some events may require prior approval by the State Fire Marshal.
Indoor and outdoor sporting events will be limited to 50 percent of their capacity, with social distancing. Masks are required under all circumstances.