Congratulations to the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana! Governor John Bel Edwards announced that, because of the downward trend in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, he will drop the stay-at-home mandate and allow many more businesses to open, albeit with certain restrictions relating to social distancing and wearing a mask.
New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell is announcing that, because of the downward trend in numbers for the city, she will also let her stay-at-home orders expire. Many businesses will be allowed to open - but with some restrictions.
Are you ready? That seems like a ridiculous question because the desire to return to normal - even if it is a new normal - is overwhelming. However - just because certain businesses are opening does not mean that everyone should feel free to go out with no regard for the continuing presence of the highly contagious coronavirus.
Mayor Cantrell is expected to reveal details about the re-opening of many businesses in a press conference this afternoon - which will be heard LIVE on WWL-AM-FM-Radio.com.
Yesterday, Governor Edwards announced that hair salons and barbershops will be allowed to open. This was met with a collective sigh of relief for everyone who is currently living in hair hell! From the shaggy hair to the exposed grey - people are ready to get something - anything - done about their hair. Be patient - the demands on your favorite hairdresser will be great.
Many more businesses will be allowed to open across the state this Friday with the restriction of 25% of capacity. But many business owners were immediately vocal about the reality that they will not be able to exist on 25% occupancy. While that is completely understandable - opening with restrictions may be a step toward a more normal operation depending on the results of opening to 25% capacity.
In Castle Rock, CO - video surfaced of a packed restaurant on Mother’s Day and Colorado Governor Jared Polis declared the restaurant an “immediate health hazard” and suspended the operating license of C & C Breakfast and Korean Kitchen.
There will certainly be the temptation to allow in more customers in than the 25% limit - will businesses have the discipline to follow the orders?
And once things start to re-open this weekend - will that be a message to the masses that the COVID-19 crisis is over? Today, Dr. Anthony Fauci testified before a Senate committee that the threat of coronavirus spread is still prevalent. So how will you interpret the re-opening of many businesses?
As businesses return to some semblance of normalcy - will you continue to wear a mask or a facial covering if you have been up to this point? Will you continue to practice social distancing?
The challenge for businesses and consumers will be the struggle to reasonably harness the new opportunities to return to normal and not allow your brain to convince you that everything is fine. And trust that this will be a struggle for many.
There is enough credible evidence to indicate that social distancing and the wearing of masks or facial coverings do work to stop the unbridled spread of COVID-19 - but that will not be enough to convince everyone to be smart about a return to whatever normal awaits us.
Governor Edwards also warned that just because more businesses are opening does not mean that everyone should feel free to casually return to going everywhere. Those over 65 and anyone with underlying health issues - including obesity - should remain vigilant about only going out when it is necessary and continuing to social distance and wear a mask or facial covering.
Since this debate over whether or not to wear a mask has become a political statement for many - we can expect to see a lot of people displaying their politics by not wearing a mask.