Stay at home order extended through April

UPDATE: Gov. Edwards has extended the stay-at-home order through the month of April, to include school closures. A decision will be made close to the end of the month as to whether the order will bne extended again.

UPDATE:  Gov. John Bel Edwards will possibly extend the "stay at home" order due to the increasing COVID-19 death toll in Louisiana and the rapid spreading of the virus. It is expected that if he extends the stay at home order, this will also extend the public school closure and possibly will mean no school for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. The governor said that as the original April 13 end of his stay at home order approaches, he will make a decision on an extension.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

Gov. John Bel Edwards has issued a statewide "stay at home" order which requires Louisiana residents to shelter in place unless they are going to perform essential errands and jobs.

The "stay at home" order begins Monday, March 23 at 5 p.m. and will continue until at least April 12.

Louisiana's growth rate of confirmed Coronavirus cases is currently the highest in the world, the Governor said on Sunday, pointing to a University of Louisiana-Lafayette study. Louisiana ranks third in per capita cases behind New York and Washington State. As of the time of the governor's announcement Sunday afternoon, state labs had tested 1,385 people and commercial labs had made 2,113 tests. Louisiana has 837 confirmed cases and 20 confirmed deaths in 36 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes, though most are in the New Orleans metro area.

Washington Parish as of Sunday has two confirmed cases and no deaths.

Illinois, California and New York have already ordered their residents to stay home unless going out for essential tasks, like buying groceries and medicine, as well as for exercise.

Edwards' order, which he issued after talking with legislative leaders, closes state agencies to the public. But people can still get groceries, go to pharmacies and medical appointments, pick up food at restaurants, care and support their family members, walk or jog outside, and take their pets to the vet. Day care centers will remain open. Essential employees will be allowed to go to work. Zoos, racetracks, barber shops, shopping malls, beauty salons and other nonessential businesses are to be closed. Public gatherings are limited to 10 people. People should not go to work unless providing essential services or visit friends or family without an “urgent need,” and should stay six feet apart from others, the governor's order said.

"Please know this is a difficult decision for me to make, and I do not take this lightly," Edwards said in issuing the order on Sunday. The move increases earlier restrictions on Louisiana’s 4.6 million residents and businesses, following orders by Edwards to close schools, bars, casinos, gyms and institute a host of other rules aimed at reducing face-to-face contact.

"We need to be resolute, focused, determined and we need to beat this," Edwards said.