LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) — Is Louisiana ready for Phase 3 reopening? Governor John Bel Edwards made the decision to move into the next phase this weekend after keeping the state in Phase 2 since early June, but he admitted, “This was probably the hardest decision that I’ve made thus far.”
While the first phase of coronavirus recovery only lasted three weeks, Phase 2 lasted three months. Some people feel Phase 3 is long overdue, but others are not sure now is the right time.
“I feel like it’s too soon,” said one woman. “Definitely way too long,” said another. “There’s a lot of unknowns,” one man added.
Many of the reasons are the same Governor John Bel Edwards gave: 17 school districts reopened this week, Hurricane Laura spread people across the state, and the risk of a spike in cases similar to the one that followed the Memorial Day holiday.
“That’s exactly what it is,” Edwards answered when asked why he had reservations. “If we hadn’t just started K-12 schools, opened our higher education campuses, had Labor Day, and a hurricane, it would have been the easiest decision probably.”
Despite uncertainties, Edwards made the decision based on the same criteria he has previously to be “consistent and transparent.” Two-week reductions in COVID-like illness, test positivity, positive cases, and hospitalizations, as well as the ability to test, are all factors.
Lisa Stevens did not want phase three, but she says she understands why others would.
“There are people on both sides of the fence, and it’s hard on either side,” she said.
Paige O’Neal disagreed, wanting visitation to return to nursing homes and hospitals as well as more work and activities to open up for the young and healthy.
“Healthy people shouldn’t have to be quarantined at all and definitely not this long,” O’Neal argued. “People should be able to get back to work and provide.”
Stevens’s decision is personal. She agreed work is important, but her brother cannot even return home at the moment. He’s not only a Hurricane Laura evacuee from the Lake Charles area, but he’s been fighting COVID-19 for six weeks in the hospital.
“I think so many people take it so lightly, and they don’t realize until it hits close to home that it’s that bad,” Stevens said.
Governor Edwards promised more details on what restrictions will loosen and how much during a public address Friday afternoon at 2 P.M.