Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Tuesday, Jan. 12, that he has extended his modified Phase 2 order, keeping COVID mitigation measures in place for another 28 days, and strongly recommended that all businesses in Louisiana move to remote work for as many employees as possible, as COVID cases and hospitalizations surge in Louisiana. The Governor’s statewide mask mandate also stays in place.
The Governor’s new order expires on February 10, 2021. Click here to learn more.
Modified Phase 2 begins Nov. 25
Governor Edwards said on Nov. 24 that the state will revert to a modified Phase 2 in response to rising COVID-19 cases. The tighter restrictions take effect on Wednesday, Nov. 25, and will remain in effect for 28 days.
Under the restrictions, restaurants, gyms, and non-essential retail businesses will be limited to 50% capacity. Indoor events are limited to 25% capacity with a limit of 75 people. Outdoor events are limited to 50% with a cap of 150 people. Attendance at sporting events is limited to 25%.
State releases details on Main Street Recovery grants
State Treasurer John Schroder has released details on the Main Street Recovery grants to help small businesses get through the pandemic. Under the program, qualifying employers may apply for up to $15,000 in grants to cover certain expenses. Click here for details.
LA moves to Phase 2
Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Monday, June 1, that following continued improvement in Louisiana’s COVID-19 outlook and a significant increase in testing capacity and contact tracing, Louisiana is ready to move to Phase 2 of the White House’s reopening strategy on June 5. Details here.
Form to report workers who decline to return
The Louisiana Workforce Commission has posted a form where employers can report employees who decline to return to work. Click here.
Governor signs order moving LA to Phase One
Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Thursday, May 14, that Louisiana will enter into Phase One of its Roadmap to a Resilient Louisiana on Friday, May 15. The stay-at-home order will be lifted, and more businesses will be allowed to open with strict social distancing, enhanced sanitation, and required masks for employees helping the public.
The order specifies that Louisianans should still stay at home as much as possible to avoid unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. People who are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should still stay at home unless they are traveling outside of the home for an essential activity, like obtaining food, medicine, or medical care. Click here to learn more.
‘Stay at Home’ extended
Gov. John Bel Edwards on April 30 extended Louisiana’s “Stay at Home” order until May 15. “My decision to extend the Stay at Home order was based on sound science and data and the recommendations of multiple public health experts and doctors as the best shot Louisiana has to protect the health of all people,” the governor said. “We simply don’t meet the qualifications to move to Phase 1 yet.” Edwards added, “Many businesses in Louisiana are allowed to open and operate as long as their employees wear face masks or coverings, limit the number of people on premises as outlined in the order and enforce social distancing.” Details here.
New rules for outdoor seating
The state fire marshall has issued temporary rules for restaurants with outdoor seating. Requirements include reducing outdoor capacity to 25% of what’s normally allowed by the fire marshal, spacing tables at least 10 feet apart, and limiting groups to 10 people or fewer. Read more here.
While the Louisiana economy is waiting to reboot, Treasurer John M. Schroder is stepping up efforts to return unclaimed money to its rightful owners. Click here to see if you’re owed a check.
Governor’s video message to small business
Governor Edwards has released a video message to small business owners thanking them for their help in slowing the spread of the coronavirus and directing them to OpportunityLouisiana.com for “resources to help you keep going.” Watch the video here.
On Tuesday, April 14, Governor Edwards signed a proclamation posting upcoming elections because of the coronavirus. The presidential primary has been pushed to July 11. The July 25 election has been rescheduled for Aug. 15. Details here.
Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program
Gov. John Bel Edwards has announced a Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program, which will offer loans of up to $100,000 to small businesses of fewer than 100 employees that are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The loans will require no payments for 180 days and carry below-market interest rates of no more than 3.5 percent. Click here for details.
3 states issue restrictions on travelers from Louisiana
Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida say visitors from Louisiana will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in those states, with some exceptions. Read the Texas governor’s executive order here. Click here to read Oklahoma’s executive order. And read the Florida executive order here.
Interim guidance for employers
The Louisiana Department of Health is issued interim guidance to help employers navigate the COVID-19 outbreak. Read it here.
Separation notices required when unemployment unrelated to coronavirus
As part of the federal government’s response to the Coronavirus crisis, Congress has enacted legislation that will provide individuals unemployed because of COVID-19 an additional $600 a week above what they receive in benefits through their state unemployment programs.
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit is to be paid only to “persons whose unemployment is directly due to the impact of COVID-19 or due to their inability to get to their job or worksite because they are sick, isolated or quarantined, caring for a sick family member, or when an employees’ child’s school is closed as determined by the administrator of the state’s unemployment compensation program (i.e., the executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission).”
Therefore, if a worker quits in the absence of these COVID-19 criteria, employers should immediately inform the Louisiana Workforce Commission via its Form 77 – Separation Notice, which they can access by clicking here.
NFIB state director on the radio
State Director Dawn Starns was on “First News with Tommy Tucker” on WWL AM 870 & FM 105.3 in New Orleans on March 26 to talk about the impact the coronavirus is having on Louisiana’s small businesses. Listen to the replay here.
Hotline for small business owners
The Louisiana Economic Development has launched an LED help desk that provides email and hotline support for Louisiana businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. LED may be reached at [email protected] or toll-free at 833-457-0531. The hotline is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT Monday-Friday. Click here to learn more.
Income and franchise tax return extensions
The Louisiana Department of Revenue on March 23 issued guidance on filing and payment extension relief for income and franchise tax returns and payments. Read it here.
On March 22, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a stay-at-home order to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. The order applies to “all places of public amusement,” including amusement parks, zoos, theaters and music venues; grooming businesses, such as barbershops and hair salons; and shopping malls, except for stores with an outside entrance that provide essential goods and services. Click here for more information.
Sales tax deadline extension
The Department of Revenue said on March 19 that it was extending the deadline for state sales tax returns because of the coronavirus. Read the department’s statement here.
The State of Louisiana has created a website with the latest updates on the coronavirus and related orders. Visit it here.
As small businesses grapple with the coronavirus, NFIB is dedicated to being their voice. We are continuing to track the latest from healthcare officials and congress. Click here for the latest information.