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New Orleans Gets A "Stay Home Mandate" From Mayor Cantrell

Ashley Dean
The French Market in New Orleans sits quiet and empty admidst government-ordered shutdowns in response to the spread of coronavirus.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued what she called a "stay home mandate" in a press conference late Friday afternoon.

Residents must stay home whenever possible, going out only for critical needs, she said. "We are telling our people and businesses to stay home."

In response to a question near the end of the press conference, the mayor said, "It is a shelter-in-place."

Critical businesses are expected to remain open, including health care providders, grocers, pharmacies, banks, newsrooms, and take-out and drive-through restauarants. Cantrell said businesses such as hair salons will now have to close.

"We are prepared to enforce at every single level," she said.

That includes police officers writing citations, code officers visiting businesses , and officers breaking up large gatherings of people.

All New Orleans police officers, regardless of deployment, have been mandated to be in uniform, the mayor said.

Cantrell also said the city government is moving toward limited functions and operations, and will only provide "basic city services."

New Orleans Health Department Director Jennifer Avegno said the order means New Orleanians should not leave home except to go to the doctor, get groceries, or go to work performing an essential service.

She emphasized a now familiar refrain: "The decisions you make today will save lives, or they won't."

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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