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Local essential industries discuss safety precautions for workers

Updated: Mar. 23, 2020 at 9:38 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Governor John Bel Edwards issued a stay-at- home order starting Monday night at 5 p.m. that will be in place until April 13.

While the mandate is already in effect, many workers will still have to report to work. Under Edwards’ order, essential services may continue their operation.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency considers several agencies essential. Some of those workers include police officers, firefighters, healthcare workers and those working at LNG facilities.

“The men and women of the police department have been champions so far. they’ve been coming to work every single day answering calls to service. The ladies and gentlemen that work here are some real heroes," Lake Charles Police Chief Shawn Caldwell said.

Caldwell said they’re taking precautions to protect their officers and the community from the virus.

“One thing we have implemented is taking reports and handling some calls via telephone. If it’s not an emergency and it can be done over the telephone, we’re asking the public to call and we can do those reports on the telephone,” Caldwell said. "When we go out on a call, we may ask the person to come out of their home instead of us going into their home, just to reduce, or, just to adhere to the social distancing concept.

Caldwell said the Lake Charles Fire Department is also adhering to the CDC recommendations.

“I assure you that if there’s a fire the fire department will respond but they may prevent access to their lobbies, they’re closing their buildings," Caldwell said.

Postal workers are also essential, according to the DHS. USPS sent a statement to 7News regarding their steps to keep their employees and customers safe. It reads in part:

“To reduce health risks, we also are temporarily modifying customer signature capture procedures. while maintaining a safe, appropriate distance, employees will request the customer’s first initial and last name so that the employee can enter the information on the electronic screen or hard copy items such as return receipts. Importantly, the CDC, the World Health Organization, as well as the surgeon general have indicated that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.”

“The best way to keep first responders, not only police officers and firefighters, but those in the medical field, is to do your part in the prevention of the spreading of this virus. By adhering to these mandates, you’re doing your part," Caldwell said.

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