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Gov. Edwards says Louisiana will remain in Phase 2 until at least August 7

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana will remain in Phase Two of reopening its economy until Friday, Aug. 7.

The governor’s executive order for Phase Two was previously set to expire Friday, July 24. Edwards said he will sign a new executive order to keep the state in Phase Two until Aug. 7. Edwards made the announcement during a news conference about the state’s response to COVID-19 on Tuesday, July 21.

Officials with the Louisiana Department of Health announced 1,737 new cases of COVID-19 in the state on Tuesday.

Additionally, he issued a statewide mask mandate on Saturday, July 11. That order is set to expire later this week. Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise as the impact of Fourth of July celebrations being felt across the state.

As of Tuesday, July 20, 99% of new cases being reported are due to community spread and 45% of those cases are individuals aged 29 and under.

After the announcement, Louisiana Association of Business & Industry President and CEO Stephen Waguespack released the following statement:

”We’re obviously disappointed to remain in Phase II for at least two more weeks, and we are just as concerned with the lack of a clearly articulated and creative pathway to a safe, reopened society, school system and economy. Right now, businesses and families all across the state are suffering from the economic impact of this pandemic and every day we don’t reopen, more and more of those people and companies inch closer to insolvency. How is that level of economic upheaval, diminished educational outcomes and overall uncertainty good for long-term community health outcomes? Where is the same sense of urgency to reopen our economy and schools as we see in fighting the spread of COVID-19? Louisiana must attack each of these goals with strategic intention and stop pitting one against the other. Over the years, Louisiana has shown great resolve time and time again and has been an example to the nation on how to use creative perseverance to overcome adversity during storms, floods and other tragic events. We need that ingenuity now more than ever. Time is of the essence. Our businesses stand ready to work with anyone, wear any mask, follow any distancing guidelines, take any test and adopt any protocol it takes to get us on a clearly defined path to prioritize open schools, public health AND economic stability.”

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