Back in March, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed an emergency order to close certain businesses across the state of Louisiana. The order was in response to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. However, some businesses that weren't specifically directed to close down, may have done so because they thought they were being told to.

Chief of Staff for Governor Edwards, Mark Cooper, told KEEL News what the Governor's initial order for businesses actually said:

"We were allowing most businesses, except those that were listed in the proclamation, to remain open."

The businesses that Cooper is talking about, the ones closed by the proclamation, are actually a narrow scope of industries. Businesses that were directed to close were limited to:

-Personal Care/Grooming
Nail Salons
Barbers/Hair Salons
Beauty Salons
- Public Amusement
Water Parks
Trampoline Parks
Movie Theaters
Amusement Parks
- Tattoo Parlors
- Malls (Stores with exterior entrances allowed. Curbside service allowed)

Everything else in the state was allowed to remain open. This included "Essential" Businesses (grocery, hospitals, media, utilities), that carried no restrictions, and "Non-Essential" that were still required to follow the 10-person maximum limit and social distancing guidelines.

This means ALL RETAIL STORES, including the following types of businesses, can still operate in Louisiana:

- Book Store
- Law Offices
- Jewelry Stores
- Clothing and Apparel Stores
- Furniture Stores
- Comic Book Stores
- Gardening Centers
- Financial Institutions
- Athletic Stores
- Video Game Store
- Footwear Retailer
- Cosmetic Store
- Toy Store

This has been a huge sticking point in the state, with some on social media going as far as soliciting photos of stores operating when some believe it to be illegal. But according to the Governor's Office, none of these businesses are actually outlawed by the order. Meaning stores like Game Stop and Ulta Beauty, for example, are still able to legally operate in the state.

Chief of Staff Mark Cooper even told us about a specific Shreveport area business, that he found out was closed in error, that we was able to help reopen:

"They called me and were complaining that (they) got to reopen, he owns an athletic store the sells running shoes. I'm like 'why are you closed?' (he said) 'Cause I thought we had to close.' No you don't, and I explained it to him. So now they've adapted, and that store's now opened."

Cooper suggested that all businesses visit the Governor's website that outlines the businesses required to close, which also indicates who can be open. The text regarding businesses that can be open reads:

"Any business not covered by the guidance from the CISA discussed in Section 3 of the order and not ordered to temporarily close must reduce operations to continue with minimum contact with members of the public and essential employees, while requiring proper social distancing, adhering to the 10-person limitation on gathering size."

The CISA guidelines mentioned in that part of the text, also opens up a lot of businesses that can be open, without restrictions, that may also be closed. This list includes (but is not limited to):

- Construction (plumbers, electrification, HVAC, Painting, etc)
- Security
- Janitorial Staff
- Hardware Stores
- Charitable & Social Services
- Hardware Supply Stores
- Computer Stores
- IT Firms/Stores
- Paint Stores
- Household Appliance Stores
- Electronic & AV Stores
- Personal Hygiene Stores
- Medical and Orthopedic Stores
- Gun Stores
- Pharmacies

There are many more industries that are allowed to operate with no restrictions, which you can find here. 

Basically, most of Louisiana can operate, and have been able to operate. Even if some businesses were unaware, they can reopen right away. They just have to follow the restrictions placed on them by the order, including the 10-person limit and social distancing. That might not work for every retail business in the state, but there are probably many who have closed in error, who could benefit from an immediate reopening.


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