News & Events

UPDATED: Effective May 15, 2020, Louisiana Governor Lifts Statewide Stay at Home Order and Issues Phase 1 Order in Its Place; “Higher Risk” Patients Encouraged to Only Leave Home for Essential Activities, Including Obtaining Medicine and Medical Care and Treatment

On May 14, 2020, noting that (1) “since the time of the original Stay at Home order, the number of new COVID-19 cases and COVID-related hospitalizations in Louisiana have decreased, with the peak of hospitalizations occurring on or near April 13, 2020”, (2) “on April 16, 2020, the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued guidelines entitled ‘Opening Up America Again’ that provided guidance to the states on how various parts of the economy could be re-opened” in 3 phases, and (3) “the State of Louisiana is on track to meet the requirements to move safely into Phase I of recovery on Friday, May 15, 2020,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a proclamation, effective the morning of May 15, 2020, lifting the statewide stay at home order that he originally issued on March 22, 2020 (and subsequently extended by proclamations issued on April 2 and April 30), in connection with the statewide public health emergency that he declared on March 11, 2020.  The May 14 proclamation encourages “all individuals within the state of Louisiana to stay home as much as possible to avoid unnecessary exposure to COVID-19” and further encourages those individuals “who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19” to stay at home unless traveling outside the home for an essential activity, including “[o]btaining medicine [and] medical care and treatment and other similar vital services for an individual or family member of the individual.”  The May 14 proclamation defines those individuals “who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19” as those “at higher risk of severe illness, as designated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), [including] those with conditions such as asthma, chronic lung disease, compromised immune systems (including from smoking, cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, or use of corticosteroids or other immune weakening medications), diabetes, serious heart disease (including heart failure, coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathies, and hypertension), chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, liver disease, or severe obesity or those who are 65 or older or living in a nursing home or long-term care facility”.

The May 14 proclamation also provides that those businesses or organizations not otherwise specifically addressed therein—thus including healthcare providers—may continue operations, subject to the following conditions: (a) no establishment shall exceed 25% of the total occupancy as determined by the Louisiana State Fire Marshal, counting both the number of employees and members of the public present in the building at one time; (b) all employees and owners of such businesses shall maintain social distancing to the extent possible between themselves and members of the public and shall wear face coverings at all times if interacting with the public; (c) waiting rooms, lobbies, or other areas where members of the public may congregate (except for bathrooms) shall be closed to the public [and] members of the public should be required to wait outside, while maintaining social distancing, or in vehicles; and (d) any business operating pursuant to this subsection shall follow the applicable guidance from the Louisiana State Fire Marshal published at opensafely.la.gov and the Louisiana Department of Health with regard to sanitization and disinfection.  The May 14 proclamation, and the restrictions therein, remain in effect until June 5, 2020, unless terminated sooner or later extended.