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Thomas: Hope for ‘new phase’ by May 15

This article is written by Washington Parish President Richard “Ned” Thomas.

Gov. John Bel Edwards extended Louisiana’s Stay at Home order till Friday, May 15. Please review the governor’s order at gov.louisiana.gov to see how it applies to you. What it means for Washington Parish is stated below:

Businesses deemed essential as stated in Governor’s Order 52 may remain open. However, the non-essentials specifically listed in Section 2:B-1 for closure must remain closed.

Restaurants must continue take-out and delivery but are only allowed to open their outside areas for patrons to eat meals without tableside service and must strictly adhere to CDC guidelines concerning social distancing and the 25-percent occupancy or 10-person rule, whichever is less restrictive.

Retail businesses must also adhere to the 25-percent occupancy or 10-person guideline, whichever is less restrictive. This includes employees and patrons in the count, and should offer curbside pick-up and delivery as well. The Governor’s Order further states any business not covered in his guidance and not ordered temporarily closed may continue operations.

I implore all business owners to require their employees to wear a face mask or some type of facial covering and require their shoppers to do the same before entering their establishment. It is important that each business owner do their part to ensure everyone in their place of business is following the CDC guidelines for the sake of everyone’s safety so that we may continue to flatten the curve and get back to 100 percent as soon as possible.

It is extremely important to me that we get back to normal as soon as possible, yet the importance of safety is still the No. 1 factor why I, along with Gov. Edwards, other local officials and stakeholders in Washington Parish, have stressed these reminders. As I have stated in previous memos, I firmly believe if we continue our efforts together, we will attain our goals sooner instead of later than we expect. I commend our faith-based organizations for being responsible during these times.

I urge every single person in our parish to take control and help stop the spread of this virus. On May 15, we want to be able to start a new Phase, which will allow the stay at home order to be lifted and further ease restrictions.