Contact: Hannah Wenninger, City of Natchitoches
Phone: (318) 352-2772
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE
NATCHITOCHES – Earlier this week, Governor John Bel Edwards stated he would be extending the stay at home order to May 15th as the state of Louisiana does not yet meet the criteria for entering into Phase 1 of the White House guidelines to states for reopening.
Mayor Lee Posey would like to inform the citizens of Natchitoches of a few updates with the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, Natchitoches Parish has 86 confirmed positive cases, 4 confirmed deaths, and has conducted 45 state tests and 735 commercial tests.
It is strongly recommended on a local, state, and national level everyone should wear a mask or face covering when in public or in instances where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. It should be noted this recommendation does not include N-95 masks that are in short supply and should be reserved for health care workers and first responders.
Non-essential retail businesses not specifically excluded from opening (casinos, movie theaters, bars, amusement parks, zoos, museums, person care and grooming (eg. barber and beauty shops); all remain specifically prohibited) are allowed to be open, however, restrictions are in place to have no more than 10 total people inside the business at the same time. Per the new executive order issued by the Governor, as of May 1st all restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops statewide, shall maintain cessation of allowing for any inside or indoor consumption of food or beverages. Any establishment affected by this order may continue take out through curbside delivery services, however, in no circumstance shall the food or beverages purchased be consumed inside the premises. Establishments shall be allowed to have outdoor dining provided that the outdoor seating does not exceed 25% of the outdoor seating area in a configuration approved by the State Fire Marshal. The outdoor seating shall be for take-out service only with no table service. All businesses shall require that any owner or employee having interaction or contact with the public shall wear a mask or face covering.
As we begin to approach Phase 1 of the State’s reopening, the stay at home order will be lifted and restrictions eased on public places like houses of worship, restaurants, and other businesses which states businesses will be able to reopen at 25% of their licensed occupancy capacity with strict requirements on safe distancing and masks requirements. In preparation of the Phase 1 reopening, businesses are encouraged to contact the City of Natchitoches Fire Department (318-357-3860) to obtain the 25% licensed occupancy capacity and certificate.
The Louisiana Department of Health have made some recommendations for businesses and residences that have been vacant or closed due to COVID-19 orders will need to use appropriate procedures to ensure safe water quality when returning their plumbing to service to avoid risk of causing illness. Plumbing lines should be flushed, ice makers cleaned and refilled, etc., before people start ingesting water from systems that have been dormant during this time period. A list of recommended return to service flushing protocols can be found at https://www.awwa.org/Resources-Tools/Resource-Topics/Coronavirus#10681543-shutoffs-and-return-to-service-guidance .
The drive thru testing site has been reduced to one day a week on Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Central Louisiana Technical College Campus located at 6587 Highway 1 Bypass in Natchitoches. If you have symptoms related to COVID-19, we strongly encourage you to visit the testing site and complete the screening process to further protect yourself and the spread of COVID-19 in our area. They have widened the screen process to include the following criteria: over 65 years old, direct contact with a COVID+ patient, immune compromised, pregnant, hypertension, or those with kidney disease.
For more information regarding information or updates on COVID-19 in Louisiana, visit the Louisiana Department of Health website at http://ldh.la.gov/Coronavirus/.