On October 26, Gov. John Bel Edwards filed a lawsuit in state court defending his COVID-19 public health emergency proclamation, which has been challenged by a group of members of the House of Representatives.
The Governor’s lawsuit asks the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge to declare a section of the law used by some members of the Louisiana House of Representatives to attempt to overrule his public health emergency order by petition unconstitutional. The
Gov. also says the petition was improperly filed because the Legislature did not consult the public health authority, the Louisiana Department of Health.
“In addition to the fact that getting rid of the mitigation measures that have proven to slow the spread of COVID and save lives is reckless and dangerous, the law being used
blatantly unconstitutional. Louisiana’s Constitution doesn’t allow only one chamber of the Legislature to overturn a public health emergency, and, even if it did, the petitioners did not properly consult the public health experts from the Louisiana Department of Health,” Gov. Edwards said.
On October 22, Gov. Edwards amended his Phase 3 order for outdoor high school sports by allowing outdoor stadiums in parishes with lower rates of positive COVID tests to move to 50 percent capacity, up from 25 percent.
To be eligible, parishes must have percent positivity of less than five percent for two consecutive weeks based on the most recent report from the Louisiana Dept. of Health, which is updated weekly on Wednesdays.
According to the press release, this is very similar to the approach Gov. Edwards has taken with reopening bars, however schools, districts or local governments will not have to opt-in. As with bars, if a parish’s percent positivity reaches more than 10 percent for two weeks, the parish must return to the 25 percent capacity limit. The new order became effective Friday, October 23, 2020.
“After meeting with the leaders of both the House and Senate and considering their requests, I have agreed to make this change in a way that is safe, reasonable and will help more fans enjoy seeing their favorite teams play,” said Gov. Edwards.
“Using the percent positivity as the guide is important because it helps to determine the rate of community spread, which is the safest, most responsible and consistent way to
“Fortunately, Louisiana is not seeing the spike in cases like other parts of the country, a clear sign that our mitigation measures, which align with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, are working. In order for that to continue, we must continue doing those things that are having a positive impact and that we know work even as we expand our activities.”
There are currently 26 parishes that are eligible to participate: Assumption, Avoyelles, Catahoula, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Grant, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafayette, Madison, Orleans, Rapides, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St.
John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Terrebonne, Vermilion, West Feliciana and Winn.
Prior to this change, the capacity for sports stadiums, arenas and athletic events was limited to 25 percent. This change does not apply to any college, professional or indoor sports.
The current Phase 3 order expires on November 6.