Edwards reaffirms COVID-19 emergency orders, addresses litigation

Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards reaffirmed his COVID-19 emergency orders and addressed the lawsuits against his protective measures.

 

“It’s been determined by health care professionals that there are some environments so conducive to the spread of COVID-19 that they cannot be opened [safely]—and bars are one of these venues, unfortunately,” Edwards said in statement posted to social media. 

 

Edwards noted that data from “all over the world” reaffirms that bars are conducive to the spread of the virus, and that is why the official position of the White House Coronavirus Task Force is that bars need to be temporarily closed.



 

“And that’s unfortunate, I know closing bars negatively impacts the livelihoods of many people in Louisiana,” he continued. “This is not something that we want to do. We don’t take any delight in it, but at the end of the day, we are in the midst of a public health emergency.”

 

Mandating masks, closing bars to on-premises consumption and reducing crowd sizes, is the only way Louisiana can get back to where it was in the early summer and flatten the curve again, according to Edwards, without going back to Phase 1 or sheltering at home. He doesn’t want to go backwards, Edwards added. 

 

Edwards ordered all bars in Louisiana to be closed to on-premises consumption, a statewide mask mandate and gathering sizes be limited to 50 people on July 11.



 

On Wednesday, it was reported that 11 Acadiana-area bar owners filed a lawsuit against the governor and Fire Marshal Butch Browning, stating that the governor’s COVID-19 restrictions were unfairly targeting their businesses. The group reportedly asked for a temporary restraining order, in a motion filed by attorney Jimmy Faircloth, to block the restrictions on Thursday, and that ruling was said to come down within 24 hours. 

 

It was reported that Houma bar owners filed a lawsuit on Thursday as well.  

 

“I’m aware of the litigation surrounding these protective measures and those people certainly have a right to go to court,” the governor’s statement reads. “I believe at the end of the day that the court will fully understand that not only do I have the authority under the Constitution to do what I’ve done, but what I’ve done is absolutely essential to protect the health of our people.”



 

There’s a partisan element to much of what’s going, Edwards said, and it’s unacceptable to him and “doing Louisiana a great disservice.” 

 

The governor noted: “It’s always interesting to me that people take issue with my orders, but they never note the fact that my orders are absolutely consistent with what the White House is telling states like Louisiana to do when they have high amounts of COVID.” 

 

Edwards emphasized that none of the decisions being made are easy, “but it’s the right thing to do.” 



 

“The worst thing we can do right now is get complacent. We have seen a few good days of news, but one or two days is not a trend,” he concluded. “The good times WILL roll again, but we have to wear our masks, wash our hands, and wave at our neighbors from six feet away.” 

 

Read the full statement below: 

 

It’s been determined by health care professionals that there are some environments so conducive to the spread of COVID-19 that they cannot be opened safety—and bars are one of these venues, unfortunately.



 

This has been reaffirmed by data from all over the world, and that is why the official position of the White House Coronavirus Task Force is that bars need to be closed for the time being. And that’s unfortunate, I know closing bars negatively impacts the livelihoods of many people in Louisiana. This is not something that we want to do. We don’t take any delight in it, but at the end of the day, we are in the midst of a public health emergency.

 

The way that we believe we will get back to where Louisiana was in the early summer and get the curve flattened again, without having to go back to the Phase 1 or the Shelter at Home, is to mandate masks, close bars to on premises consumption and reduce crowd size. I, for one, do not want to go backwards.

 

I’m aware of the litigation surrounding these protective measures and those people certainly have a right to go to court. I believe at the end of the day that the court will fully understand that not only do I have the authority under the Constitution to do what I’ve done, but what I’ve done is absolutely essential to protect the health of our people.



 

That there’s a partisan element to much of what’s going on is unacceptable to me and, quite frankly, it’s doing Louisiana a great disservice. It’s always interesting to me that people take issue with my orders, but they never note the fact that my orders are absolutely consistent with what the White House is telling states like Louisiana to do when they have high amounts of COVID.

 

None of these decisions are easy, I’ve mentioned that before, but it’s obviously the right thing to do. The worst thing we can do right now is get complacent. We have seen a few good days of news, but one or two days is not a trend. The good times WILL roll again, but we have to wear our masks, wash our hands, and wave at our neighbors from six feet away. #lagov