By Cyndi Sellers
“Stay at Home” is now “Safer at -Home” as Governor John Bel Edwards on Monday announced that the Stay-at-Home order will change on Friday, May 15, allowing more businesses to open and larger gatherings.
Beginning Friday, restaurants, hair and nail salons, gyms and fitness centers, churches, movie theaters, casinos and video poker establishments may open with up to 25 percent of the occupational capacity approved by the State Fire Marshal. still ordered closed are tattoo parlors, massage parlors, spas, amusement parks, children’s museums, and bars without food service permits.
There are strict guidelines for re-opening, however. All employees that meet the public must wear face masks, and guests are encouraged to wear masks also. Guests must be six feet apart, and tables must be 10 feet apart to allow safe social distancing, even for patio or outdoor seating. Sanitation measures are required. Details are available for businesses at opensafely.la.gov.
Edwards said the continued restrictions are difficult by required if the state is going to move forward. The guidelines are the same as the White House Guidelines, he said, except that Louisiana moved earlier on allowing non-emergency medical procedures.
Wear Masks Please
The new normal is for sick people to stay home, people who have been exposed to the novel coronavirus should stay home for at least two weeks, wash hands frequently, and everyone should wear a mask in public to protect others from exposure to virus particles being expelled by people who do not know they are contagious. These measures are only effective if the public complies.
While the state is easing restrictions, “It is not mission accomplished,” Edwards said. “There is still COVID out there. In addition to Safer at Home, we need people to follow the guidelines to be sure we don’t go backwards. I think people will. We need to keep the count down.”
Police Jury to Hold Open Meeting
The Police Jury meeting on Friday will be open to the public. The meeting room will be limited to 43 people, and another 20 can be accommodated in the lobby area if needed.
This decision was made following the Governor’s announcement on Monday that the Stay-at-home order is moving into Phase 1 of re-opening the state.
Under “Safer-at-home” guidelines, indoor meetings can be held as long as the attendance does not exceed 25 percent of the occupancy approved for the space.
Parish Administrator Katie Armentor says offices remain closed to the public. The tentative date for re-opening offices is June 1.
The Cameron Parish Library System will continue to offer curbside and online services, but has not set a date for re-opening the libraries. The Library Board is expected to meet next week to consider a re-opening plan. Library Administrator Dede Sanders said temporary sneeze guards are being installed at all branches, and personal protective equipment is being secures for employees.
Churches Have Mixed Response
First Baptist Church in Cameron will re-open worship services starting Sunday, May 17, with a limit of 30 people in the sanctuary and another 20 in the Fellowship Hall if needed. Seating will be separated for proper distancing, and masks and hand sanitizer will be provided.
The church will continue to stream the service on Facebook Live for those who choose to remain at home.
Sunday School is not yet ready to start back up, but a Bible Study is being held on Wednesday night for adults.
Rev. Mel Yorks reports that the area Methodist Churches have been told to remain closed until June 7.
The Fifth Sunday Singing that was scheduled for May 31 has been canceled due to the difficulty of accommodating a large group while social distancing.
Grand Lake Community church will hold services this Sunday with limited seating according to state guidelines. Adult Sunday School will be at 8:45 a.m., and Worship Service at 10 a.m.
Big Lake Gospel Tabernacle will hold its Sunday morning worship service at 10:30 a.m. There will be no night service.
Bishop Glen John Provost has announced that area Catholic Churches will be open for Mass at scheduled times with 25 percent of the capacity approved by the State Fire Marshal, with six feet of space between attendees. Masks will be required of all attendees except during communion.
Grand Lake Faith Temple will divide its congregation among three weekly services, Sunday at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and Wednesday at 7 p.m. Pastor Kris Howerton said the congregation will be divided alphabetically, with approximately one-third at each service. There will still be room for visitors, he said, even with spacing six feet apart. Facebook streaming will continue.
Some churches will still be providing Facebook streaming for those who are more comfortable staying at home for the time being. Full details are available on the Diocese of Lake Charles website.