St. Martin Parish President Chester R. Cedars
April 29, 2021
9:30 A.M.

On April 27, 2021, Governor John Bel Edwards issued Executive Order 79 JBE 2021 which again removes many capacity restrictions which have heretofore existed. Moreover, as I previously reported, this Executive Order rescinds the prior statewide mask mandate. I have studied the Order and submit the following outline for quick reference. However, as I have advised in the past, I strongly encourage any business or organization to register and/or consult https://opensafely.la.gov/ for case-specific guidance. THE ORDER IS EFFECTIVE BEGINNING TODAY AND CONTINUES UNTIL MAY 26, 2021.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 79 JBE 2021
APRIL 27, 2021

STAY AT HOME RECOMMENDATIONS

Previous orders have recommended that those individuals who are at higher risks of severe illness from COVID-19 should “stay at home” unless for essential activities. The current order now provides an exception to that recommendation for individuals who are fully vaccinated.

BUSINESSES WHICH MUST REMAIN CLOSED

There remains no specific classification of businesses which have been ordered closed.

BARS AND LOUNGES-SECTION 2(B)(8)

There has been no change from the previous order.

RESTAURANTS, CAFES, AND COFFEE SHOPS-SECTION 2(B)(1)

There have two significant changes. First, waiting areas may now be open to patrons provided there is social distancing. Second, buffets and common food areas are now opened provided that patrons maintain social distancing while at the buffet.

The Executive Order continues to provide that, “Any business operating pursuant to this Paragraph is ENCOURAGED to follow the applicable guidance from the State Fire Marshal published at https://opensafely.la.gov/ and the Louisiana Department of Health with regard to sanitization and disinfection.” (Emphasis supplied)

BEAUTY SHOPS, SALONS, AND BARBER SHOP-SECTION 2(B)(2)

There has been no change except that waiting areas are now allowed to be open to patrons if there is social distancing.

The Executive Order continues to provide that, “Any business operating pursuant to this Paragraph is ENCOURAGED to follow the applicable guidance from the State Fire Marshal published at https://opensafely.la.gov/ and their applicable regulatory board or agency with regard to sanitization and disinfection.” (Emphasis supplied)

SHOPPING MALLS-SECTION 2(B)(3)

There has been no change. Note the provision that: “Any business operating pursuant to this Paragraph is ENCOURAGED to follow the applicable guidance from the Louisiana Department of Health with regard to sanitization and disinfection.” (Emphasis supplied).

Also, food courts must continue to follow the mandates for restaurants.

CASINOS, RACETRACKS, AND VIDEO POKER ESTABLISHMENTS-SECTION (2)(B)(4)

There has been no change except that lobbies and other areas where the public may congregate are open to the public while maintaining social distancing.

GYMS AND FITNESS CENTERS-SECTION 2(B)(5)

There has been no change except that waiting rooms, lobbies, and other areas where the public may congregate are now open to the public while maintaining social distancing.

The Executive Order continues to provide that, “Any business operating pursuant to this Paragraph is ENCOURAGED to follow the applicable guidance from the State Fire Marshal published at https://opensafely.la.gov/ and the Louisiana Department of Health with regard to sanitization and disinfection.” (Emphasis supplied)

ATHLETIC EVENTS-SECTION 2(B)(6)

The capacity for any INDOOR stadium, sports complex, or arena remains has been increased to 75% of the total occupancy while adhering to the maximum social distancing possible between spectators, as determined by the State Fire Marshal. HOWEVER, IF THE ESTABLISHMENT REQUIRES PATRONS TO WEAR FACE MASKS THROUGHOUT THE EVENT, THE CAPACITY CAN BE 100% OF ITS TOTAL OCCUPANCY.

As regards any athletic event OUTDOORS, THERE IS NO CAPACITY RESTRICTIONS.

Alcohol can continue to be sold at athletic events provided:

Consumption must be in the patron’s ticketed seat.

Signage is required relative to rules regarding consumption.

There is no longer a prohibition against the sale of alcohol to a patron not wearing a face covering.

The Executive Order continues to provide that, “Any event held pursuant to this Paragraph is ENCOURAGED to follow the applicable guidance from the State Fire Marshal published at https://opensafely.la.gov/ and the Louisiana Department of Health with regard to social distancing, sanitization and disinfection.” (Emphasis supplied). Face coverings are required for all attendees and spectators.

EVENT CENTERS AND RECEPTION HALLS-SECTION 2(B)(7)

There has been no change except that any business in this category can now operate at 75% of its total occupancy (as determined by the State Fire Marshal), without any numerical limitation. If the establishment requires the wearing of face masks throughout the event, then the occupancy may be 100% OF THE TOTAL OCCUPANCY AS DETERMINED BY THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL.

Waiting rooms, lobbies, and other areas where the public may congregate are NOW allowed to be open provided there is social distancing.

The Executive Order provides that, “Any business operating pursuant to this Paragraph SHALL follow the applicable guidance from the State Fire Marshal published at https://opensafely.la.gov/ and the Louisiana Department of Health with regard to sanitization and disinfection.” (Emphasis supplied)

CONVENTIONS AND CONFERENCES-SECTION 2(B)(9)

The total occupancy for a convention or conference is now 75% of the total occupancy of the establishment which is hosting the event, as determined by the State Fire Marshal. Social distancing is mandated. However, if the establishment requires the wearing of face masks, the total capacity can be 100% OF THE TOTAL OCCUPANCY AS DETERMINED BY THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL.

Waiting rooms, lobbies, or other areas where members of the public congregate are NOW OPEN to the public while maintaining social distancing.

The Executive Order continues to provide that any host must have a plan approved by the State Fire Marshal and must follow the applicable guidance published by the State Fire Marshal at https://opensafely.la.gov/ and the Louisiana Department of Health with regard to sanitization and disinfection.

ALL OTHER BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATIONS-SECTION 2(B)(10)

There has been no change except that waiting rooms, lobbies, or other areas where the public may congregate can be open to the public while maintaining social distancing. Otherwise, this omnibus classification of businesses can operate with capacity limitations.

The Executive Order continues to provide that, “Any business operating pursuant to this Paragraph is ENCOURAGED to follow the applicable guidance from the State Fire Marshal published at https://opensafely.la.gov/ and the Louisiana Department of Health with regard to sanitization and disinfection.” (Emphasis supplied)

LIMITATIONS ON CROWD SIZES-INDOOR AND OUTDOOR-SECTION 2(C)

Crowd sizes are now limited to 75% capacity as determined by the State Fire Marshal in any single INDOOR space at the same time. However, if the establishment requires patrons to wear a face mask throughout the event, then the establishment may increase its occupancy to 100% of the total capacity as determined by the State Fire Marshal. THERE ARE NOW NO CAPACITY LIMITATIONS AS TO OUTDOOR EVENTS.

THIS CROWD SIZE LIMITATIONS DO NOT APPLY TO ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES OR RELIGIOUS SERVICES.

FAIRS AND FESTIVALS SHALL SUBMIT A PLAN FOR APPROVAL BY THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL.

MASK MANDATE-SECTION 3

As I noted in yesterday’s update, the current proclamation, Executive Order 79 JBE 2021, rescinds the statewide mandate. However, the mandate remains in effect as to:
1. K-12 schools
2. Colleges and universities
3. Early childhood education centers
4. Hospitals
5. Nursing Homes
6. Public Transit systems such as airports/planes, taxis, and the like
7. All State buildings which operate under the purview of the Governor

Furthermore, the current executive order allows each local governing authority to impose a local mask mandate. For the reasons set forth in my message yesterday, St. Martin Parish does not intend to issue such an edict.

I again recommend that any business or organization with questions or issues consult and/or register with https://opensafely.la.gov/. Case-specific guidance is available.

CLOSING REMARKS

This current Executive Order is another MAJOR step toward a total re-opening and return to normalcy. However, this COVID-19 battle is not over, and in view of that, we should treat the current positive developments as a challenge to continue to exercise sound judgment. I truly believe that we are in the midst of a struggle between vaccinations and the proliferation of the various COVID-19 variants. I implore those who have not heretofore considered receiving the vaccination, to study the science and seek guidance from those medical experts whom we know and trust. I speak specially, though not exclusively, about those who practice in the fields which deal with infectious diseases. There are many myths and misunderstandings about the vaccines which have been accepted as truths.