Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards amended his Phase 3 order for outdoor high school sports by allowing outdoor stadiums in parishes with lower rates of positive COVID tests to move to 50 percent capacity, up from 25 percent.
To be eligible, parishes must have percent positivity of less than five percent for two consecutive weeks based on the most recent report from the Louisiana Dept. of Health, which is updated weekly on Wednesdays.
It is very similar to the approach Gov. Edwards has taken with reopening bars, however schools, districts or local governments will not have to opt-in. As with bars, if a parish’s percent positivity reaches more than 10 percent for two weeks, the parish must return to the 25 percent capacity limit. The new order becomes effective Friday, October 23, 2020.
“After meeting with the leaders of both the House and Senate and considering their requests, I have agreed to make this change in a way that is safe, reasonable and will help more fans enjoy seeing their favorite teams play,” said Gov. Edwards. “Using the percent positivity as the guide is important because it helps to determine the rate of community spread, which is the safest, most responsible and consistent way to move forward. Everyone who attends these sporting events will still have to social distance and wear a mask. We know that when people wear masks it slows the spread of this sometimes deadly virus, and that is why the mask mandate will remain in place. As always, it is important for those who have conditions that make them especially vulnerable to COVID-19 not to attend crowded events like football games that could put their health at great risk. Fortunately, Louisiana is not seeing the spike in cases like other parts of the country, a clear sign that our mitigation measures, which align with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, are working. In order for that to continue, we must continue doing those things that are having a positive impact and that we know work even as we expand our activities.”
There are currently 26 parishes that are eligible to participate: Assumption, Avoyelles, Catahoula, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Grant, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafayette, Madison, Orleans, Rapides, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Terrebonne, Vermilion, West Feliciana and Winn.
Prior to this change, the capacity for sports stadiums, arenas and athletic events was limited to 25 percent. This change does not apply to any college, professional or indoor sports.
The Phase 3 order expires on November 6, 2020.
Click here to read the updated Phase 3 order.