In response to the very real, serious and ongoing threat to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Louisiana posed by COVID-19, the Honorable John Bel Edwards has issued several Proclamations pursuant to the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act (La. R.S. 29:221, et seq.). These Proclamations generally provide the following directives.

PUBLIC EMPLOYEES AND STATE OFFICIALS

All state offices are closed to the public, although essential state functions are being continued through flex scheduling and/or remote work efforts.

STAY AT HOME ORDER

As a result of those Proclamations, all individuals within the State of Louisiana are under a general stay-at-home order and have been directed to stay home unless performing an essential activity. It was further ordered that all gatherings of ten (10) people or more shall be postponed or cancelled, except for the following essential activities:

1) Obtaining food, medicine and other similar goods necessary for the individual or a family member of the individual.

2) Obtaining non-elective medical care and treatment and other similar vital services for an individual or a family member of the individual.

3) Going to and from an individual’s workplace to perform a job function necessary to provide goods or services described above or as otherwise deemed essential worker functions pursuant to the Guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which guidance can be found at https://www.cisa.gov/identifying-critical-infrastructure-during-covid-19.

4) Going to and from a place of employment remaining open in accordance with the Governor’s Proclamations, provided that the employee has been designated as essential.

5) Going to and from the home of a family member.

6) Going to and from an individual’s place of worship.

7) Engaging in outdoor activity provided individuals maintain a distance of six (6’) feet from one another and abide by the 10-person limitation on gathering size.

CLOSURE OF NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES

The following nonessential businesses have been ordered to remain closed to the public and members:

1) All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including, but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, trampoline parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, pool halls, children’s play centers, playgrounds, theme parks, any theaters, concert and music halls, adult entertainment venues, racetracks, casinos, video poker establishments, movie theaters, bowling alleys, bars and other similar businesses.

2) All personal care and grooming businesses, including, but not limited to, barber shops, beauty salons, nail salons, spas, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, fitness centers, gyms and other similar businesses.

3) All malls, except for stores in a mall that have a direct outdoor entrance and exit that provide essential services and products as provided by the CISA guidelines previously referred to.

All restaurants, cafes and coffee shops statewide have been ordered to cease allowing for any on-premises consumption of food or beverages. However, they may continue take out through curbside delivery, drive-thru and delivery services, but in no circumstances shall the food or beverage purchased be consumed on premises. Hotel restaurants may continue their operations, but only for the service of registered hotel guests via room service.

TERMINATION DATE

The various orders set forth above and contained in the Governor’s Proclamations are currently set to terminate on April 30, 2020. However, that date may be extended or terminated early as a result of further Proclamations.

THESE DIRECTIVES ARE CLEARLY APPLICABLE TO THE RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES OF ST. MARTIN PARISH. ADDITIONALLY, I PREVIOUSLY ISSUED THE FOLLOWING CURFEW.

CURFEW

The curfew is from 10:00 P.M. until 5:00 A.M. and applies to the ENTIRE PARISH – incorporated areas and non-incorporated areas. Of course, our citizens in Stephensville and Belle River are also covered by the curfew. Moreover, the curfew applies to adults and minors. Nevertheless, there are three notable exceptions:

1) Emergency personnel – fire, police, and ambulance
2) Anyone going to and from employment
3) Any essential business activity SPECIFICALLY defined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructural Security Agency

Essential will be deemed to mean just that – ESSENTIAL. Law enforcement is fully cognizant of what and who are “essential” based upon my conference.

There are many reasons for this particular curfew, not the least of which is to limit the movement of the general public within our region – not just St. Martin Parish. Also, as I have commented many times before, the virus does not move-people do.

As we do with all situations in this crisis, we will continue to evaluate and make decisions as circumstances evolve, change, or develop. Thus, if a need to revise the curfew, or any other measure for that matter, presents itself, I will act accordingly.

I have generally been pleased with the level of cooperation and understanding demonstrated by most of our citizens and businesses. However, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 continues to increase in St. Martin Parish and four of our citizens have died as a result of this virus. Moreover, the number of cases in our Parish are higher than our neighboring Parishes with the same or close to same population. Our Parish and State are facing a crucial time if we hope to reduce and ultimately stop the spread of COVID-19 and the devastating effect that it is having on the health, safety and welfare of our friends and families and our local economy.