Governor Edwards and his administration have begun to broach the subject of a plan to re-open the Louisiana economy. The first step will likely be allowing elective medical procedures to resume and eventually allowing businesses to operate with reduced occupancy. While the current stay-at-home order expires on April 30th, Edwards has previously suggested it could be extended. However, earlier this week, he said that he intends to announce what the next phase is several days before it expires.
Edwards said at a press conference Tuesday that social distancing practices, wearing masks in public and other health measures, will endure for the foreseeable future.
“Social distancing is going to be part of our future for some period of time,” he said.
Edwards warned the state could be back to the point of hospitals at risk of being overrun if he loosens things too quickly. If that happens, the state would have to “ratchet back down.” Some Republican state lawmakers have called for an end to the state’s stay-at-home order as unemployment claims mount.
The governor said his administration would rely heavily on the federal government’s guidance on the next steps after the stay-at-home order. To date, the state has mostly followed the guidelines offered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control thus far, instituting several waves of restrictions based on CDC guidance.
“What that announcement looks like will depend in large part on what our case count looks like on that date,” Edwards said of the April 30th date. “As we move forward, we don’t want to get back to a place where we’re on a path to exceeding our health care.”