News & Events

Updated: Effective August 7, 2020, Louisiana Governor Continues Statewide Phase 2 and Face Covering Orders; “Higher Risk” Patients Again Encouraged to Only Leave Home for Essential Activities, Including Obtaining Medicine and Medical Care and Treatment

On August 6, 2020, in connection with the statewide public health emergency that he declared on March 11, 2020, and noting that (1) “the State of Louisiana moved into Phase 2 of recovery on…June 4, 2020”, (2) “because of the alarming increases in the number of new COVID-19 positive tests, the original Phase supplemented by [further proclamation] on July 13, 2020, which implemented a face mask order, closed bars for on-premises consumption, and restricted gatherings to 50 people or less”, (3) “the mitigation efforts have resulted in a slight decrease in the number of positive cases…although still greater than the red zone threshold established by the White House Coronavirus Taskforce”, and (4) the unanimous recommendation of the public health experts is that there be universal adoption of face coverings when strict social distancing is not possible, and the White House Coronavirus Task force has submitted a specific recommendation for Louisiana that a face covering mandate be implemented”, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a proclamation, effective August 7, 2020, continuing the Phase 2 order that he originally issued on June 4, extended on June 25, and again extended on July 23, and also continuing the face covering order that he originally issued on July 11.

The August 6 proclamation encourages all 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 August 6 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 August 6 proclamation further 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 50% of the total occupancy as determined by the Louisiana State Fire Marshal; (b) waiting rooms, lobbies, or other areas where members of the public may congregate (except for bathrooms) shall be closed to the and members of the public should be required to wait outside, while maintaining social distancing, or in vehicles; and (c) 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.

Finally, the August 6 proclamation maintains in place the statewide face covering order providing that “[e]very individual in Louisiana shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial establishment or any other building or space open to the public, whether indoor or outdoor. This shall include public or commercial modes of transportation.”

The August 6 proclamation, and the restrictions therein, remain in effect until August 28, 2020, unless terminated sooner or later extended.