Louisiana Republicans call for end of ‘piecemeal’ COVID-19 business regulations

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

Louisiana Republicans on Sunday asked Gov. John Bel Edwards to end the “piecemeal” approach to business regulations meant to control the spread of COVID-19.

Edwards is expected to announce today whether Louisiana will enter “phase two” of the White House-endorsed approach to loosening business restrictions. Criteria used to decide whether the state is ready include numbers of new cases, people with symptoms and hospitalizations, along with testing and contact tracing capacity.

Under Louisiana’s current status, most types of businesses are allowed to be open but are restricted to 25 percent of their normal occupancy. Workers are required to wear masks. Types of businesses that remain closed include massage parlors and spas, adult entertainment venues, and bars that don’t serve food.

In a letter dated May 31, Rep. Blake Miguez and state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, who chair the Republican caucuses in their respective chambers, Attorney General Jeff Landry, and state Rep. Phillip DeVillier, R-Eunice, sent Edwards a message endorsed by numerous legislators. They say that, for example, bars should not be treated differently than restaurants.

“The piecemeal method picks winners and losers, crippling small businesses and forcing too many into bankruptcy or closure,” the letter reads.

State officials say the rules are based on federal guidance about best practices to protect employees and public health.