Edwards: Phase 3 means 75% occupancy for most businesses

When phase three of easing up on coronavirus pandemic restrictions begins, restaurants and other businesses that have been dealing with a limit of 50 percent of maximum occupancy throughout phase two will get to welcome more customers.

"We're going to go to 75 percent for the most part. Now, there's going to be some individual-type venues where we're not going to change," Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told WWL's Newell Normand. "For the most part, it's going to be 75 percent, but with a requirement that they continue to social distance."

The governor also pointed out that phase three is pretty much the final change, barring any regression to previous phases, and the mask mandate, occupancy  percentages, and other guidelines are likely to stay in place, he said, "until we get past this."

"I'm not sure where we go from phase three looking forward," Edwards said. "Nobody should expect another major change after this one, across the board with occupancy percentages and so forth, really until we kind of get past this."

Edwards later outlined what Phase Three means during a Friday afternoon news conference. Most notably, bars, closed since mid-July, will be allowed to reopen. But they will be subject to several restrictions, among them, a 10:00 p.m. curfew.

Phase Three comes with other restrictions on alcohol. Restaurants and casinos will also be required to cease alcoholic beverage sales at 10:00 p.m., and sports venues that are allowed to reopen will be dry -- no alcohol sales at all.

Most other businesses that are operating at 50 percent capacity will be allowed to expand to 75 percent, but social distancing must be observed, and masks must be worn. Casinos will remain at 50 percent of their maximum occupancy, and no more than 75 percent of their gaming tables or machines.

Wedding and party venues will be allowed to host 50 percent of their maximum occupancy, with a maximum of 250 people.

The Louisiana Department of Health is also putting together a pilot program that will allow visitation at senior care facilities.