News & Events

Louisiana COVID-19 Response Updates

June 25, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards formally extended Phase Two of reopening in Louisiana through July 24, 2020, as new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase across the state. The new order leaves in place occupancy and other restrictions of the previous Phase Two order and adds a crowd size limit of 250 to indoor gatherings. Click here to read the Governor’s order.

The City of New Orleans imposes a few additional restrictions that are more stringent than the state guidelines for some activities and businesses.  The city’s guidelines are available here.  The notable additional requirements in New Orleans are:  (1) face coverings are mandatory in public; (2) non-essential businesses must register with the State Fire Marshall’s office before they are allowed to open; and (3) one safety control officer per 50 people is required for any gatherings.  Other, more detailed requirements are set out in the city’s guidelines.


June 16, 2020

Governor John Bel Edwards signed CT 336—HB 826 into law. This bill provides relative to the limitations of liability due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.


June 12, 2020

Governor John Bel Edwards signed ACT 230—SB 426 into law. The bill  Requires health insurance coverage for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) diagnostic testing.


June 4, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the order moving Louisiana to Phase Two of the White House plan for reopening, while cautioning members of the public and businesses to continue to take mitigation measures, like wearing masks when in public, to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 as more people will be interacting with each other. Click here to read the new order.

OVERVIEW OF BUSINESSES THAT CAN OPEN ON FRIDAY, JUNE 5:

Businesses that will be able to open at 50 percent occupancy include:

  • 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 (with an approved plan from the Louisiana Racing Commission)
  • 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)

Casinos and video poker establishments may open at 50 percent occupancy, but limited to 75 percent of their gaming positions, with spacing to allow for social distancing and with enhanced sanitization. Plans must be submitted to the Gaming Control Board which will issue guidance to these facilities.

Bars and breweries that do not have LDH food permits will be able to open with social distancing requirements and patrons seated at 25 percent occupancy.

Additional guidance will be released relaxing some regulations for summer camps in Phase Two. Sleep-away camps are not allowed in Phase Two.

The following businesses remain closed: carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, fairs, contact sports, children’s indoor play centers, arcades, trampoline parks, theme parks, concert and music halls, and other similar businesses. Live entertainment is not permitted inside any building or indoor function.

However, any business that is directed to be closed in the Phase Two order may petition to reopen under a plan approved by the State Fire Marshal in consultation with LDH. The State Fire Marshal may approve this plan or offer guidance on how the business may reopen in Phase Three.

The Governor encourages businesses that can allow employees to work remotely to consider doing so, especially if an employee is at high risk for becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 or shares a household with a high risk person.


June 1, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that following continued improvement in Louisiana’s COVID-19 outlook and a significant increase in testing capacity and contact tracing, Louisiana is ready to move to Phase 2 of the White House’s reopening strategy on June 5.  The relaxed statewide restrictions remain subject to local variations, most significantly in New Orleans where tighter restrictions will remain in force beyond the effective date of changes at the state level.  However, the City of New Orleans is expected to announce revised restrictions in the near future.

Gov. Edwards will sign the official order for Phase 2 of a Resilient Louisiana by Thursday, June 5, with guidance being issued to individual industries and businesses via the OpenSafely.la.gov website throughout the week. In Phase 2, churches, places of worship and many more businesses will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity with social distancing, masks for public-facing employees and increased sanitation. In addition, the state strongly recommends that businesses consider offering temperature checks before a person can enter and posting the symptoms of COVID-19 outside with a request that symptomatic individuals not enter.

Phase 2 in Louisiana will last at least 21 days. Because more businesses will be open to more patrons and because the CDC has clarified that the illness is most likely to spread through the air and not on surfaces, the order will strongly encourage individuals to wear masks whenever they are in public and will recommend that people who enter businesses that are not taking proper precautions consider the risk to their health and their family in doing so.  In the City of New Orleans, masks are mandatory when in public.

OVERVIEW OF BUSINESSES THAT CAN OPEN:

Businesses that will be able to open at 50 percent occupancy include:

  • 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)
  • Casinos and video poker establishments may open at 50 percent occupancy, but limited to 75 percent of their gaming positions, with spacing to allow for social distancing and with enhanced sanitation. Plans must be submitted to the Gaming Control Board which will issue guidance to these facilities.

Bars and breweries that do not have LDH food permits will be able to open with strict social distancing requirements and patrons seated at 25 percent occupancy.

Arcades and trampoline parks may open under approved plans by the State Fire Marshal, with minors accompanied by parents.

Summer camps were allowed to open with restrictions in Phase One, and additional guidance will be issued. Sleep-away camps are not allowed in Phase Two.

The following businesses remain closed: carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, fairs, contact sports, children’s indoor play centers, theme parks, concert and music halls, and other similar businesses. Live entertainment is not permitted inside any building or indoor function.

The Governor encourages businesses that can allow employees to work remotely to consider doing so, especially if an employee is at high risk for becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 or shares a household with a high risk person.

Information on the tighter restrictions that remain in place is available at https://ready.nola.gov/incident/coronavirus/safe-reopening/.


May 14, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards formally declared that Louisiana will enter into Phase One of its Roadmap to a Resilient Louisiana on Friday, May 15, when the Stay at Home order will be lifted and more businesses will be allowed to open with strict social distancing, enhanced sanitation and required masks for employees helping the public.

The order specifies that Louisianans should still stay at home as much as possible to avoid unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. People who are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should still stay at home unless they are traveling outside of the home for an essential activity, like obtaining food, medicine or medical care. Click here to download the new order.

Within the City of New Orleans, a few additional restrictions apply to specific categories of businesses described in detailed guidelines published by the city’s Department of Health.  The guidelines are available here.  Notable differences between the city’s guidelines and the rest of the state are for restaurants and enclosed-mall retail outlets that do not have exterior entrances.


May 11, 2020

Louisiana will further ease COVID restrictions on Friday, May 15, but under strict occupancy, protection, and social distancing guidelines.  Governor John Bel Edwards announced that this “Phase One” reopening tracks White House COVID guidance, and will be detailed in an updated, formal proclamation on Thursday, May 14.  It will remove the Stay at Home order for Louisianans, but will encourage higher risk people to remain at home.  Governor Edwards stressed that everyone is still safer at home and should limit exposure by wearing a face mask in public, handwashing frequently, and maintaining at least six feet of social distance.

The new guidance will allow essential businesses, as defined by CISA, to remain open.  Additional businesses may open on May 15, with 25 percent occupancy limits, sanitation guidelines and social distancing.  These include:

  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Barber shops and hair and nail salons
  • Casinos and Video Poker
  • Theaters
  • Racetracks (not open to spectators)
  • Museums, zoos, aquariums (no tactile exhibits)
  • Bars and breweries that have Louisiana Department of Health food permits

Places of worship may remain open at 25 percent occupancy.  All businesses and churches must have their employees who deal with the public must wear masks and enforce social distancing.

The following businesses will remain closed:  massage establishments and spas, tattoo parlors, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, trampoline parks, arcades, fairs, bars and breweries without food permits, pool halls, contact sports, children’s play centers, playgrounds, theme parks, adult entertainment venues, and other similar businesses.

All business owners should review the updated order on Thursday to understand if their business can be open as of May 15.

The 25 percent occupancy rate is based on the advice of public health officials who recommend that customers and employees generally have 110 square feet around them.

The State Fire Marshal and the Louisiana Department of Health will continue issuing Phase One guidance.  Business owners and faith leaders can register at OpenSafely.la.gov to receive this guidance, which will also be posted online.  Except for gaming establishments, registration is not required, but is encouraged to facilitate quick access to the latest information

State buildings will begin opening to the public on May 15 at 25 percent occupancy and state agencies are bringing more state employees back to work in person, with proper distancing and protections in place.  All employers are encouraged to continue allowing employees to work remotely when possible, and to plan to space out their employees, close communal spaces, require masks, and increase sanitation protocols when employees return to the workplace.


April 30, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards formally extended Louisiana’s Stay at Home order until May 15 as the state continues to slow the spread of COVID-19 to meet the White House threshold criteria for opening more of the state’s economy. In recent days and weeks, Louisiana has seen a drop in new case counts and hospitalizations in some, but not all, regions of the state, though the death rate continues to be high. The extended order relaxes a few restrictions on businesses. Stores in malls may open for curbside delivery only at exterior entrances to the stores. Restaurants my allow patrons to use outside seating to consume take-out meals, with social distancing but without tableside service.  One feature of the extended order imposes a new requirement: all employees of a business who have contact with the public must wear a mask

Click here for a copy of the order.


April 27, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced he will extend Louisiana’s Stay at Home order until May 15 to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. Louisiana does not currently meet the White House criteria for entering Phase One of reopening, but the new order will ease a few restrictions.  It will apply statewide, and roughly aligns with an earlier order issued by the Mayor of New Orleans that extended COVID restrictions in that city through 6:00 AM on May 16.

Under the extended order, which will be issued on Friday, May 1, most businesses that previously were directed to be closed will remain closed, including salons, barber shops, bars and casinos, among other things. Businesses that are deemed essential under the third phase of federal CISA guidance may still be open. Non-essential retail businesses in Louisiana continue to be able to open, but are limited to fewer than 10 people total inside.

Three major changes in the new Stay at Home order include:

  • Malls will remain closed to the public, but stores may open for curbside delivery.
  • Restaurants will be allowed to open outside seating areas only for take-out meals from the restaurant.  Tableside service will be prohibited, and social distancing will still be required outdoors.
  • All employees of a business who have contact with the public must wear a mask and gloves.

Additionally, both the CDC and the Louisiana Department of Health strongly urge everyone to wear masks when in public.

Gov. Edwards intends to make his next announcement by May 11 about moving to Phase 1 of a more general reopening.  To prepare for that move, Louisiana wants to increase its testing capacity to 200,000 per month (from 140,000 currently), and plans to hire 700 contact tracers to help contain outbreaks.

Although Louisiana continues to experience new cases throughout the state, the daily rate of new cases and COVID-related deaths is gradually decreasing.  The City of New Orleans achieved a significant milestone yesterday:  for the first time in 37 days, New Orleans had zero reported COVID deaths.


April 15, 2020

Louisiana

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a proclamation closing K-12 public schools in Louisiana to students until the end of the current school year, with students getting their education via remote learning, as the state continues to fight the spread of COVID-19. Click to read the proclamation. 

New Orleans

New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell has extended her emergency order closing non-essential businesses, banning public gatherings, and directing a “stay at home” mandate through May 16, 2020.  Click here to read the proclamation extending the closures.  The previous order was set to expire on April 16.  Mayor Cantrell’s new order incorporates Governor John Bel Edward’s closure order as a requirement, but applies it for a longer period of time.  The Governor’s order currently runs only through April 30, while the Mayor’s order extends through May 16.  Mayor Cantrell’s order applies only within the boundaries of the City of New Orleans.  While there are indications that the Governor is considering extending the state-wide order beyond April 30, no official extension has been issued at this point.


April 14, 2020

At the request of the Louisiana Secretary of State, Gov. John Bel Edwards has postponed Louisiana’s elections for another few weeks because of the COVID-19 outbreak in the state. The Governor originally moved the elections in an Executive Order issued on March 13.

The June 20, 2020 Presidential Preference Primary election in Louisiana is now rescheduled for July 11, 2020 from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. The July 25, 2020 election is now rescheduled for August 15, 2020 from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.  Related changes have also been made in early voting and absentee ballot return dates.  Click here to view the proclamation.


April 7, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a proclamation related to unemployment and other issues related to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, as it seeks to manage the influx in unemployment claims due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The proclamation addresses various issues related to unemployment and workers’ compensation and also deems health care workers and first responders who work for the state as essential for purposes of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Click here to read the proclamation.


April 2, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards formally extended his Stay at Home order until April 30, as Louisiana works to slow the spread of COVID-19, which extends the length of time that schools and some businesses are closed and continues limits on the size of gatherings.

To read the updated order, click here.

The following businesses shall remain closed to the public:

  • All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, trampoline parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, pool halls, children’s play centers, playgrounds, theme parks, any theaters, concert and music halls, adult entertainment venues, racetracks, casinos, video poker establishments, movie theaters, bowling alleys, bars and other similar businesses.
  • All personal care and grooming businesses, including but not limited to, barber shops, beauty salons, nail salons, spas, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, fitness centers, gyms and other similar businesses.
  • All malls, except for stores in a mall that have a direct outdoor entrance and exit that provide essential services and products as provided by CISA guidelines.

Businesses closed to the public pursuant to this provision shall not be prohibited from conducting necessary activities such as payroll, cleaning services, maintenance or upkeep as necessary.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a new text alert system that will provide timely COVID-19 updates and other critical guidance directly from the governor’s office to Louisiana residents.

Louisianans can opt-in to the new system today by texting ‘LACOVID’ to 67283.

Residents who have opted in for updates will also receive instructions to sign up for Smart911, a free service that allows individuals and families to provide key context to first responders.

Through the Smart911 app or smart911.com, residents can create a Safety Profile that contains critical information including pre-existing conditions and quarantine status.


April 1, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a new Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program, or LPGP, which will offer loans of up to $100,000 to Louisiana small businesses of fewer than 100 employees that are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. A pool of $50 million is being made available through participating banks. To help Main Street and rural businesses sustain operations, the loans will require no payments for 180 days and carry below-market interest rates of no more than 3.5 percent.

LPGP loans will provide up to $100,000 in immediate financing to help small firms impacted by COVID-19 meet their payroll, retain employees, pay their rent and mortgages, and keep their lights on and their doors open. Interested businesses may find loan details here. A list of participating bankers will be posted at the site by Friday as banks complete their participation agreements.


March 31, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a proclamation that eases medical licensure laws to make it easier for health care professionals out of state to come to Louisiana to practice during the COVID-19 outbreak and directs funerals to occur as expeditiously as possible, among other things.

Additionally, the proclamation makes clear that funeral services can and should be conducted as expeditiously as possible and that the 10-person limit applies for those services.

You can read to proclamation here.


March 27, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards and Secretary Don Pierson of Louisiana Economic Development announced the opening of an LED help desk that provides email and hotline support for Louisiana businesses impacted by COVID-19.

For COVID-19 business questions, LED may be reached at LEDbiz@la.gov or via the toll-free hotline, (833) 457-0531. The COVID-19 hotline is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Be aware that high call volumes might result in delays. Callers are encouraged to keep trying, leave a voice mail or contact LED via email.

For Louisiana businesses seeking federal financial assistance, they are encouraged first to contact the U.S. Small Business Administration at SBA.gov/Disaster to apply for COVID-19 disaster aid. The SBA Customer Service Center may be reached at (800) 659-2955, with an additional TTY line for the hearing-impaired at (800) 877-8339.

LED is working with all levels of government and the private sector to support Louisiana businesses and their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the LED website — OpportunityLouisiana.com/covid19 — businesses may find workplace guidance from the Governor’s Stay At Home Order and other proclamations; COVID-19 public health recommendations; sources of COVID-19 financial aid; regional resources across the state; and links to information from business and industry trade associations. For more information, visit OpportunityLouisiana.com.

Orleans Parish Civil District Court records and Orleans Parish land records have been opened for free public viewing to improve access to the courts and land recording systems during the physical shutdown of the Clerk of Court’s facilities. Complimentary subscriptions to the remote access systems was announced as a public service by Orleans Parish Clerk of Court Chelsey Richard Napoleon. Although it is free, users must register, and may do so at https://remoteaccess.orleanscivilclerk.com/NewAccount.aspx. The subscription allows free online viewing of documents. However, there is a charge for downloading or printing documents, and a user must establish a deposit/escrow account for that purpose using an separate application form available at http://www.orleanscivilclerk.com/forms/LR%20escrow%20account%20application.pdf.


March 26, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday signed a proclamation outlining additional measures for COVID-19 response in Louisiana, including provisions related to first responders, law enforcement and granting emergency authority to the insurance commissioner, among other things.

Click here to read the proclamation.


March 25, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that his request for a statewide Major Disaster Declaration in response to the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana was approved by President Donald Trump last night. The declaration allows the federal government to provide additional support for state and local agencies in dealing with this growing public health emergency.

Click here to read the governor’s declaration request.


March 24, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards is requesting a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Louisiana as the number of cases of COVID-19 grows and the state’s efforts to combat the spread of illness intensifies. The declaration would allow the federal government to provide additional support for state and local agencies in dealing with this growing public health threat. Click here to read the declaration request.


March 23, 2020

The Louisiana Supreme Court issued a new COVID-19 order, reaffirming its prior deadline and filing extensions, and additionally directing all courts to limit access to courthouses spaces to “absolute minimum physical contact,” and to observe the Governor’s “Stay at Home Order.”  The order directs courts to limit their activity only to essential civil and criminal matters, and even then to do so via video or teleconference.

Gov. John Bel Edwards reminded the people of Louisiana that a statewide Stay at Home order went into effect at 5 p.m. Monday, March 23, to further fight the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana. The number of cases in Louisiana stood at 1,172, resulted in 34 deaths, and had spread to 41 of our 64 parishes. Gov. Edwards announced these additional mitigation measures at a press conference yesterday.

Click here to read the Governor’s statewide Stay at Home order.

Click here for additional information on essential businesses.

Click here for a Stay at Home one-page fact sheet.

Click here for FAQs about Stay at Home.


March 22, 2020

On Sunday, March 22, 2020, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a Stay at Home Order for non-essential workers and businesses beginning Monday, March 23, 2020 at 5 p.m. Read the official order here.


March 20, 2020

The Louisiana Supreme Court issued two additional orders.  The first essentially extends the most litigation deadlines by an additional two weeks, through April 14, 2020.  The second is a companion order that decrees that any filings that otherwise would have been due between March 12 and April 13, 2020 will be considered timely if filed by April 14, 2020. These orders are available here and here.


March 18, 2020

Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards sent a letter to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence requesting temporary changes to several federal programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read the governor’s letter.

The governor’s requests include:

  • An expansion of the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service hot food waiver to allow the purchase of hot food in Louisiana restaurants through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
  • Statutory change through congressional action in addition to relaxing some administrative constraints on Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for Disaster Recovery.
  • Eliminating some restrictions in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s CBDG-State’s program.
  • Recommendations for FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program and Public Assistance program.

March 16, 2020

The Louisiana Supreme Court has moved to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by issuing an order that continues most litigation and litigation deadlines throughout Louisiana’s civil and criminal court system.  A copy of the order is available here.


March 16, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards significantly expanded his recent proclamation aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 across Louisiana. The updated proclamation calls for a limit to gatherings of no more than 50 as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and all bars, movie theaters and fitness centers and casinos will close. Restaurants will not be allowed to have patrons eat on-site, rather they will be limited to drive-thru, pick-up and delivery orders only. These are among several changes to the proclamation that will become effective at midnight tonight.

Additionally, the order addresses emergency procurement measures and the use of video or teleconferencing for public meetings. It also suspends various prescriptive periods and legal deadlines and allows for the chief law enforcement officer of a parish to set a curfew, among other things.

Read updated proclamation here.


March 13, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order postponing Louisiana’s upcoming election including the presidential primary in response to COVID-19, commonly called the coronavirus. The elections scheduled for April and May will take place in June and July. Click here for the executive order.


March 12, 2020

Following a meeting of the Unified Command Group today, Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a Public Health emergency in Louisiana related to COVID-19. Additionally, the declaration addresses efforts to prevent price gouging should that become necessary as well as limits international travel for state employees to Level 2 and Level 3 countries as designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC. Click here for the public health emergency declaration.