WEST MONROE, La. (05/11/2020) — Parks have become a source of happiness while Louisiana residents were under the statewide stay at home order. However, Monday brought news that many have been waiting to hear.

“We will be moving to phase 1, Friday the 15th.”

Governor John Bel Edwards

“My first reaction was pure joy because I really know a lot of people personally struggling with their local businesses,” said West Monroe Resident Chelsea Primm when she heard the announcement.

Joshua Johnston of Riverside Coney Island, says business has been an adjustment since the stay at home order was implemented.

“We’ve had our good days and bad days but it could always be better,” he said.

Johnston worries what phase one will bring for their small business.

“I’m sure we’re going to suffer a little bit just due to the fact that people are trying to sit down and do normal things,” like go out to eat, he said.

Breaking down Phase one, it will last for 21 days. Under the new guidelines, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, hair and nail salons can re-open at 25% capacity. Spas, tattoo, and massage parlors cannot and will remain closed.

“And we fully expect that they will be cautious as they have been all along. And that is why at this time I feel that it is safe to take this next step statewide,” said the governor.

Businesses like Riverside Coney Island say it’s relying on residents to shop locally.

“Community is everything. I have regulars that I appreciate coming in every day. They keep me busy, they keep me open.”

Joshua Johnston, Riverside Coney Island

Governor John Bel Edwards says his team is still keeping an eye Monroe (Region 8) as the number of cases of COVID-19 is still increasing.

“We’re not declaring victory. This is not mission accomplished,” he said.

Phase one will end on June 5th and the governor expects an announcement for future plans on June 1st.