With everyone's attention on Hurricane Delta and it's impending landfall on the Louisiana coast, it was easy for anyone to forget that Governor John Bel Edwards was set to make an announcement on Thursday as to what phase Louisiana would continue as it pertains to COVID-19.

Governor Edwards announced that the state will stay in Phase 3 and keep the statewide mask mandate in place for another 28 days.

“Today, I’m announcing that Louisiana will stay in Phase 3 until at least November 6, as we continue to implement the mitigation measures developed for the state by the White House Coronavirus Task Force and supported by health experts that are having a positive impact on our battle against this public health emergency,” Gov. Edwards said. “All of the data shows improvement in Louisiana’s COVID situation because of the strong mitigation measures we have in place and because of the hard work of the people of Louisiana. These measures, which are supported by science, are allowing us to keep our case count and hospitalizations down, even as most of Louisiana’s businesses have expanded their operations and more people are moving about.

“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.”

Governor Edwards moved the state to his version of Phase 3 in September 11th.

Here are the current guidelines that are being extended:

BUSINESSES THAT CAN OPERATE AT 75% CAPACITY

  • Restaurants, cafes and coffee shops
  • Shopping malls (including food courts, following restaurant guidance)
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Barber and beauty shops and nail salons
  • Movie theaters
  • Racetracks (not open to spectators)
  • Museums (including children’s museums), zoos, aquariums (no tactile exhibits)
  • Bars and breweries with LDH food permits
  • Massage establishments, spas, and tattoo establishments (under strict guidance from LDH), esthetician services (under strict guidance from the Cosmetology Board)
  • Pool halls, bowling alleys and skating rinks (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Event Centers and wedding venues
  • Outdoor playgrounds and play centers (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Churches
  • Indoor Funerals and Weddings continued outdoor services with no crowd size limitation as long as social distancing is practiced.

Casinos and Video Poker Establishments will remain at 50% capacity (but limited to 75 percent of their gaming positions, with spacing to allow for social distancing and with enhanced sanitation).

Indoor events are limited to 50% capacity with up to 250 people, as well as with outdoor events.

Nursing home visits remain banned as well. LDH is finalizing plans for a pilot program that would allow outdoor visitations for nursing homes that are located in parishes with 5% positivity or less and zero cases in the last 14 days.

Bars WITHOUT LDH food permits: Parishes where positivity is 5% or below for two straight weeks can allow bars to open with 25% capacity with up to 50 people. Local governments would have to approve or 'opt-in' before bars could open in those parishes. Only table side service seating will be allowed with no more than 50 customers outdoors. Bars will close by 11 p.m. People below the age of 21 will not be allowed in bars.

Alcohol can be sold at sporting events in parishes that qualified and had opted in to re-open bars for on-site alcohol consumption.

Alcohol will not be allowed to be served past 11 p.m.

LIVE MUSIC EVENTS are still prohibited.

High School football stadiums are allowed to operate at 25% capacity.

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