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UPDATED: Effective November 6, 2020, Louisiana Governor Continues Statewide Phase 3 and Face Covering Orders; “Higher Risk” Patients Continue to Be Encouraged to Only Leave Home for Essential Activities, Including Obtaining Medicine and Medical Care and Treatment

On November 5, 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 1 of recovery on…May 15, 2020”, (2) “the State of Louisiana moved into Phase 2 of recovery on…June 4, 2020”, and (3) “the State of Louisiana moved into Phase 3 of recovery on…September 11, 2020”, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a proclamation, effective November 6, 2020, continuing the Phase 3 order that he originally issued on September 11renewed on October 8, and supplemented on October 22, and also continuing the face covering order that he originally issued on July 11.

The November 5 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 November 5 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 November 5 proclamation also provides that restaurants, beauty shops, shopping malls, gyms, churches and other faith-based organizations as well as 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 75% of 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 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. Casinos, event centers and elementary and secondary school outdoor athletic events are subject to similar conditions; however, such operations and events are limited to 50% total occupancy as determined by the Louisiana State Fire Marshal.

Finally, the November 5 proclamation limits crowd sizes to 250 people and maintains in place the statewide face covering order, which provides 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 November 5 proclamation, and the restrictions therein, remain in effect until December 4, 2020, unless terminated sooner or later extended.