Louisiana governor issues ‘stay at home’ order

rice tillage

A worker prepares a California rice field for planting. California is one of eight states under ‘state at home’ orders.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide stay at home order beginning at 5 p.m., Monday, March 23, for non-essential workers and businesses to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Louisiana will join California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio, Delaware and Connecticut that already have stay at home orders, sometimes referred to as shelter in place orders. The order is designed to minimize social interaction to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

Under the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency’s guidance, agricultural related workers are part of the essential critical infrastructure workforce and are allowed to travel for work. That includes all businesses that support agriculture. Other sectors such as transportation and financial services are also addressed in the CISA guidance.

Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said the guidance includes those who work in the food supply chain and have a responsibility to maintain normal work schedules to continue providing food without interruption. Among those are:

• Workers supporting groceries and other retail that sells food and beverage products.

• Restaurant carry-out, delivery and quick serve food operations.

• Food manufacturer employees and agricultural processors.

• Farm workers and support service workers.

• Agriculture warehouse, distribution and transportation workers

• Governmental agencies involved in regulatory and program support of agriculture.

• Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood products.

• Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of agriculture equipment.

“It is imperative for our national security that we continue to provide food, fiber, energy and health requirements for the human and animal populations,” Strain said in a statement. “We must ensure these vital goods and services are protected and not interrupted. We are committed to facing this crisis head on and working as a team at the national, state and local levels.”