Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Louisiana, US, extend stay-at-home order, closure of most nonessential businesses through at least May 15.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Alexandria, Louisiana
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Monroe, Louisiana
  • Houma, Louisiana
  • Cameron, Louisiana
  • Intracoastal City, Louisiana
  • Morgan City-Amelia, Louisiana
  • New Iberia, Louisiana
  • Abbeville, Louisiana
  • Galliano-Golden Meadow, Louisiana
  • Port Fourchon, Louisiana
  • Grand Isle, Louisiana
  • Boothville-Venice, Louisiana

This alert began 29 Apr 2020 18:39 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Louisiana (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 15
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has extended his state's stay-at-home order requiring residents to stay home and most nonessential businesses to remain closed through at least May 15 as part of the effort to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The order, which was originally slated to expire April 30, stipulates that residents may only leave their homes to obtain basic goods, attend to medical issues, care for a person in need, or to work at businesses or services authorized to remain open. Residents may also engage in outdoor recreational activities and go to places of worship, provided they adhere to social distancing standards.

Under the extension, gatherings of 10 or more people remain banned. Businesses and services deemed essential that are allowed to remain open include grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and healthcare facilities, as well as energy, transport, security, and telecommunications companies. Nonessential retail businesses may continue to operate, provided they allow fewer than 10 people total inside their premises at a given time.

Malls will remain closed, although their constituent stores may provide curbside pickup for customers. Restaurants may provide delivery and carry-out services and allow customers to eat meals at outdoor seating areas, provided there is no table service. Employees must wear face masks in all businesses where there is contact with the public. All other nonessential businesses may only operate with their employees working from home.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the order in short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the Louisiana authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all non-essential travel in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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