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Is “Phase 3” Really an Advancement?

by Shelby Willis

According to John Bel Edwards, Louisiana has moved into phase three, but there are old and new restrictions in place that seem to have taken our state a few steps back.

Here at LSUS, not much has changed. The current safety protocols and procedures will remain in place for the time being. According to the Pandemic Action Team Operations Manager, Trish Farnsworth-Smith, the numbers of cases have proven that LSUS’s fight against the spread of the virus is working. Students will be required to continue wearing masks, to go through daily screenings, and to sanitize their personal spaces while social distancing.

The statewide mask mandate also remains in order. Restaurants and other businesses, such as gyms, salons, and spas, are able to raise their capacity from 50 percent to 75 percent with social distancing still in effect. However, the majority of bars, besides those in limited parishes with a positive testing rate of five percent or less, will remain closed.

With the start of Phase 3 came some new rules. One of them states that any alcohol-serving venue, such as a bar, restaurant, or casino, cannot serve past 10 p.m. Most would think that “Phase 3” meant moving forward toward more freedom, but many people think this is a confusing setback. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards clarified on Twitter that, “Limiting hours for alcohol consumption is designed to reduce the amount of higher risk behavior in the community.”

Louisiana will also see a sports season unlike any other. Phase 3 will limit sports events to a 25 percent capacity, enforce social distancing, and prohibit the distribution of alcohol. LSU Tiger fans will still get their football season, but tailgating for devoted fans and students will look quite different.

"We don't go from 75% to 100% until the pandemic is over," Edwards told reporters. "That is what I need people to understand."

Although the numbers are dropping and the current “phase” has a new name, the masks remain up and restrictions will not necessarily loosen up until we no longer see Coronavirus as a cloud over our community.