Authorities in New Orleans, Louisiana, will move the city into Phase 3.2 of its economic recovery plan effective Oct. 17 due to a decrease in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. Under the new directives, houses of worship, movie theaters, and conference venues may open for timed events at 50-percent capacity or 500 people, whichever is smaller. Concert venues may open at 50-percent capacity or 250 people, whichever is less. Outdoor stadiums and arenas may open at 25-percent capacity or 500 people, whichever is less. Bars and breweries that serve food may offer indoor seating at 25-percent capacity, and outdoor seating at 100-percent capacity with a maximum of 50 individuals. Those that do not serve food may only have outdoor seating at 25-percent capacity with a maximum of 50 people. Alcohol sales at both types of establishments are permitted only between 0800-2300. Indoor live entertainment will be permitted at restaurants, indoor venues, and concert halls. Gathering sizes of up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors are allowed. Restaurants, shopping malls, and retail centers, personal care services, museums, libraries, zoos, aquariums, and other businesses may operate at 75-percent capacity. Protective face coverings continue to be required in all public spaces.

The rest of the state is continuing under Phase 3 of the economic recovery plan. Under the current guidelines, restaurants, places of worship, personal care services, gyms, and other businesses may operate at 75-percent capacity with social distancing measures in place. Bars in parishes with COVID-19 test rates of higher than 5 percent over 14 days must remain closed for on-premises consumption; bars in other parishes may operate at 25-percent capacity up to a maximum of 50 people. All alcohol sales must end at 2200. Indoor and outdoor gatherings, including weddings and funerals, are limited to 50 percent of the venue's capacity with a maximum of 250 people. Casinos may operate at 50-percent capacity. Large venues, including sports facilities and movie theaters, may operate at 25-percent capacity with social-distancing measures in place. The statewide protective face covering mandate remains in force; however, local authorities can waive the mandate in parishes with fewer than 100 active COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Amusement and water parks, indoor playgrounds, concert and music halls, carnivals, and fairs remain closed. All businesses are encouraged to allow their employees to work from home whenever possible. Essential businesses and services, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, healthcare facilities, and energy, transport, security, and telecommunications companies, have not been subject to disease-related closures. Employers are required to enforce social distancing and enhance sanitation procedures.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

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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