Local leaders react to stay-at-home extension

Local leaders react to stay-at-home extension

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Just this week, Governor John Bel Edwards extended his stay-at-home order two more weeks — to May 15.

“One death and one sickness is too many for Calcasieu Parish and Southwest Louisiana," Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter, said.

Hunter said our numbers are better than some other parts of the state.

“It caught me by surprise, it’s not what I thought he would do. We are in a better position to have a gradual reopening than other spots. I don’t think you just flip a switch and go back to normal. There’s gotta be a roll out plan, we’ve had a lot of those conversations with OEP and how we could push our retailers in a certain direction," Hunter said.

However, Hunter said his hands are tied.

“The governor has made it very clear, he’s made it clear through a couple of conference calls, through some of his words that local authorities do not have the power to do something less restrictive than what he’s done. We can do something that’s more restrictive and we have not done that locally, but we cannot enact something that’s less restrictive," Hunter said.

Jennings Mayor Henry Guinn said he understands the need for the extension.

“It’s definitely a complex situation, I take my hat off to the governor, I think he’s done a great job with this pandemic. But we’ve gotta start putting some thought into what the economy is going to do and how it will effect local small governments," Guinn said.

Which is why, starting this Friday, Guinn said the city will be doing a “smart restart” — an initiative to make sure all businesses that can be open according to the governor’s order, are.

“If you open up your business. If you’re a non-essential business and you’re opening up, you must wear face masks and limit the people in the building," Guinn said.

While many have questions about the order and what it means for specific businesses, we’re told the state is looking to release more information that better spells that out.

Lake Charles and Jennings are both asking the public to report those businesses and individuals who do not follow the governor’s order.

Lake Charles Mayor’s action hotline: 337-491-1346

Jennings email: COVID-19@cityofjennings.com

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