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New Orleans orders closure of most public spaces

New Orleans orders closure of most public spaces

New Orleans has ordered the closure of most public spaces Monday amid the coronavirus outbreak that has rocked the nation.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) signed a proclamation to close bars, nightclubs, casinos, movie theaters, malls, gyms and health clubs to reduce community spread of the virus. Restaurants can remain open for take-out and delivery services only, according to the proclamation.

The order does not apply to health care facilities, pharmacies, grocery stores, corner stores, banks, gas stations and other essential services.

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The changes will go into effect Tuesday until at least April 16.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) had already announced Monday that the state’s bars, casinos and movie theaters would be closed until at least April 13. Gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned, and restaurants are limited to take-out, delivery or drive-through service. 

According to the state Health Department, Louisiana has seen 114 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths so far.

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Jennifer Avegno, the New Orleans health director, said during a press conference that the city has experienced “substantial community spread.”

“It continues to appear that the rate of infection here is increasing much faster than even other cities in the U.S.,” she said.

Collin Arnold, the New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director, responded to the city’s announcement saying, “We all know that the business closures we’re mandating will be felt throughout the community for some time.”

He pointed affected businesses and employees to resources on the city’s website

The news comes after a video showing police attempting to clear crowds on New Orleans’s Bourbon Street Sunday went viral. The officers in the video told the crowd, "Your actions are jeopardizing public health and we are directing you to clear the streets and to go home or back to your hotel.”