During his COVID-19 update this afternoon, Parish President Archie Chaisson said the Lafourche Government is going into an “essential-only state” beginning at 6:30 on Tuesday.
“Our [Emergency Operations Center] will become fully activated…with only essential personnel that we need to kind of keep government work rolling,” he said. “We are going to continue to have finance personnel, HR personnel and our Community Action staff at the ready. We need to keep paying bills and keep the lights on here as far as Parish Government goes.”
Chaisson said the building permit office will continue moving, with inspection services still being available. However, they will put a hold on any new permits for a three-week period. “But for anything that’s kind of finishing up, we’re gonna keep our inspectors on the road and try to keep that up and running,” he continued.
A lot of department heads and managers will be working from home, Chaisson said.
Most of the Public Works operations will also be suspended, Chaisson said, including grass cutting and culvert installations for driveways.
“Our pumpers will still be operating the pumps, especially in the event of a rain scenario. Our mechanics will still work on things that are broken as far as pumps and critical infrastructure, so of course, we can keep you guys, our citizens protected as we go,” he continued.
Chaisson said the energy industry is considered essential, so Port Fourchon will “continue to supply the deepwater market there.”
The “Stay at Home” order issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards earlier today was also referenced during the briefing. “It really shuts down everything that is non-essential. So while you will still be able to go to the grocery store or you will still be able to go to the pharmacy and your wholesale outlets…We’re not restricting the access to the essential stuff, but virtually everything else is going to close,” Chaisson said.
Chaisson once again pleaded to residents to stay home and practice social distancing.
“We need to take these precautions seriously and do all the things that we’ve been preaching to you as government officials over the last few days…so we can control the spread.” he added.
Chaisson said his focus now is to also work with the delegation to get some federal bills passed to reduce the economic impact of the outbreak.
“‘Cause that right now is the most important thing,” he said. “It’s not about politics, or parties, or whether or not the government is trying to institute socialism. It’s about economic recovery and keeping our people safe.”