Louisiana and Ohio became the latest states to announce statewide stay-at-home orders to take effect Monday in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to social media posts from both governors. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said his state's order would go into effect at 11:59 PM Monday and last until April 6, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced his state's order would go into effect 5 PM Monday and last until April 12. Edwards said confirmed cases of the virus “have topped 800 and spread to more than half of our parishes.” That number in Ohio is more than 350, with three resulting deaths, according to News 5 Cleveland. Twenty deaths resulting from COVID-19 have been reported in Louisiana, The New York Times reported.
“In Louisiana we have taken aggressive measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve; however, this is not enough,” Edwards said. “As our number of cases continue to grow, I am directing all Louisianans to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary for you to leave. I am implementing this measure to help prevent you from becoming infected or infecting someone else.” Similar orders were announced in California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon, according to USA Today.
Although no statewide order has been announced for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney will be requiring his city's residents to stay home as of 8 AM Monday, according to NBC 10 Philadelphia. The city alone has at least 96 confirmed COVID-19 cases, but the mayor told the news outlet residents still weren't taking earlier requests to stay home seriously. The mandate contends that violators would be issued "orders to cease operations and the imposition of such other remedies and penalties as provided by law." Other areas taking a more localized approach to stay-at-home orders include Missouri's St. Louis and Kansas City, New Orleans, Colorado's San Miguel County, Georgia's Athens-Clarke County, and Idaho's Blaine County, USA Today reported.
Many of the orders simply mandate guidelines that have been in place in the areas for several days. They allow residents to go to the pharmacy, grocery store, and medical appointments but ask them to practice social distancing and to refrain from going to work unless they work in an essential industry like health care, farming, or electricity.
In hot spots of the coronavirus, however, including cities in the northeast and northwest, the orders do spell out fines and penalties. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference Friday that businesses that don't comply with the order will face civil fines and mandatory closures, according to CNN. "These provisions will be enforced," he said. "These are not helpful hints. This is not if you really want to be a great citizen. These are legal provisions. They will be enforced. There will be a civil fine and mandatory closure for any business that is not in compliance. Again, your actions can affect my health. That's where we are."
There have been more than 300,000 cases of the coronavirus in the United States to date and 15,168 in New York, according to the New York Times. Other states seeing far fewer COVID-19 cases are opting to implement stay-at-home orders to prevent widespread infection. “This order is not something I take lightly, but it is necessary to protect the health, safety and well-being of our people, our communities and our way of life,” Gov. Edwards said.
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