Calcasieu officials ready for Phase 2 reopening, but urge caution

Calcasieu officials say area is ready for Phase 2 reopening, but still urge COVID-19 safety

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Phase two of the reopening is welcome progress to local leaders and the public.

But those gathered for the Calcasieu briefing urge caution as the coronavirus is still here.

Region 5 Medical Director Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh says wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands remain crucial. She says outdoors is the safest place to gather.

“You have less risk if you’re attending something that is held outdoors in a well, ventilated area space, rather than an inside space where there’s not good ventilation,” she said.

“We know that in general six feet is a pretty safe distance and if we’re spread out good, our risk goes down. We also know our risk goes down if our contact with other people is of short duration. So, if you’re in an enclosed space for two hours versus two minutes, that’s a big difference in terms of your risk,” said Cavanaugh. She also said mobile testing units continue to provide COVID-19 testing according to a schedule posted on the Louisiana Health Department website. Though testing will be suspended next week due to possible bad weather.

Here is the Calcasieu Police Jury link to testing.

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter agrees and says businesses with a “Shop Safely Lake Charles” sign have pledged to follow recommendations.

“The City of Lake Charles wants to encourage people to feel safe at those locations. We recently launched the Shop Safely LC program and we’ve been going around to different businesses and asking those business owners to take a pledge and that pledge says that they are adhering to all of the recommendations of their regulatory agency,” said Hunter.

He says they don’t know yet what the annual Red, White Blue and You celebration may look like this July 4th.

“What I’m comfortable saying today is, I’m very concerned about hosting Red, White, Blue and You on July 4, in its traditional form.”

President of the SWLA Alliance George Swift is also ready for reopening but also urges caution.

“I went in a grocery store yesterday and I would say, one out of ten might have had a mask on, so we’ve got some improvement we could do. The worst thing we could do is to not take this seriously and say, ‘Okay, it’s over,’ and then have another outbreak and have to shut back down,” said Swift.

He also discussed numerous kinds of help still available for local businesses. Swift says $130 billion is still available through the Paycheck Protection Program

Swift says he expects the economy of this region of the state to improve faster than other areas.

Click here to read more details about Phase 2 and what is allowed. To watch the entire Calcasieu briefing click here.

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