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Louisiana, South Carolina, Wisconsin to allow businesses to reopen

Shoppers are seen at the FIGat7th mall in downtown Los Angeles, Calif., on Friday. Non-essential businesses in Wisconsin, Louisiana and South Carolina will soon be allowed to reopen. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Shoppers are seen at the FIGat7th mall in downtown Los Angeles, Calif., on Friday. Non-essential businesses in Wisconsin, Louisiana and South Carolina will soon be allowed to reopen. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

May 12 (UPI) -- The governors of Louisiana, South Carolina and Wisconsin have announced certain businesses will be allowed to reopen within the next week.

In Louisiana, residents will be able to leave their homes and visit restaurants, theaters, casinos beginning Friday, Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

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At a press conference Monday, Edwards said Louisiana will move to the first stage of the White House's gradual reopening plan starting Friday, stating he will not re-extend a stay-at-home order issued on March 23.

"Because of the stay-at-home order, Louisianans were able to dramatically improve our trajectory, reduce the number of new cases, keep our healthcare system from being overrun and save lives," he said.

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Edwards explained the decision came after consultations with health experts and leaders of industry, who feel "confident" with lifting the order. He said residents will still be encouraged to stay home, especially those at higher risk of more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

With more than 2,240 deaths attributed to the virus and nearly 32,000 cases, Edwards has twice before extended the stay-home order.

Details of the plan will be unveiled Thursday for which non-essential businesses can open at 25 percent occupancy. Churches will also operate at limited capacity and those who deal with the public must wear face coverings.

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Tattoo parlors, carnivals, amusement parks, arcades and bars and breweries without food permits will remain closed, the governor's office said.

"Our lives will not go back to normal for some time," he said. "I know this has been a trying time for our people, our churches and our businesses, and I am truly grateful for the continued adherence to mitigation measures designed to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives."

In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster announced additional businesses can reopen next week after restaurants opened Monday with limited dine-in service.

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"This virus still presents a serious threat to South Carolinians, but I have faith in the people of our state and their ability to act responsibly and in the best interest of the communities they live in," he tweeted.

Cose-contact services, such as barbershops, hair salons, athletic facilities and tattoo and massage parlors, will be able to open from May 18, he said.

The announcement came as the state's Department of Health reported 140 new cases and 15 additional deaths.

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In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers signed an executive order Monday allowing almost all retail stores to open, effective immediately.

The measure alters the state's "safer at home" permitting residents to leave home under limited circumstances.

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The order Monday states all standalone and strip mall retail stores can offer in-person shopping for up to five customers at a time while maintaining social distancing practices.

"This is another disciplined turn of the dial that will allow Wisconsin's business owners to safely get back to work and Wisconsin consumers to support their favorite local spots," Evers said in a statement. "Both customers and workers need to be confident in their safety, so we need everyone to be diligent in following best safety practices so we can continue to move our state forward while keeping our neighbors, families and communities safe and healthy."

Last month, the governor extended the order until May 26, drawing the ire of Wisconsin Republicans who have sued Evers to block the move.

According to its Department of Health, Wisconsin has 10,400 cases and 409 deaths.

World moves to reopen amid COVID-19 pandemic

Visitors wear face masks as they tour the Whitney Museum of American Art as it reopens on September 3. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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