Louisiana House Representative Charles Owen, District 30, requested the Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives Clay Schexnayder to petition Governor Edwards to strongly consider a regional approach to re-opening Louisiana.

Speaker Schexnayder stated he would forward Owens’ question to the Governor, and up-channel his petition.

“I let the Speaker know that though we in West Central Louisiana have certainly had challenges with COVID-19 and that we have had hospitalizations and sadly some loss of life, that our part of Louisiana is generally not under the same type of constraint or pressure as other, more populous zones. By comparison to other areas, we’ve been very fortunate,” said Owen. 

The regional approach focuses on parishes that have not had coronavirus numbers as devastating as other parishes. 

As of noon on April 24 Beauregard and Vernon Parish, part of District 30, Vernon has a total of 15 cases, 1 death and Beauregard has 35 cases and 2 deaths.

Orleans Parish has 6286 cases, and 392 deaths.“I’ll tell all who are reading this that I’ve forwarded my request to the Governor’s office through the Speaker of the House.   The Governor has not made a commitment to act, but it is my hope that we can proceed into a phased re-opening by the 1st of May---this coming Friday. I’m hopeful he’ll have an answer for us by early next week,” said Owen.

While the coronavirus has ravaged the entire nation, and Louisiana, all Parishes are not on the same level of infection.

“I’ve been approached by a number of business owners and employees regarding a “re-opening” plan for our economy. I’ll pass to you what I’ve told each of them:  I am in support of a regional approach to re-opening the economy in our beloved State. I believe in our people and I believe we’ll do the right things. To me, the right things are related to being self-aware. Those who have underlying health conditions and are susceptible to the Chinese virus would do well by staying home.  Those who are healthy and who can take precautions should, in my estimation, be allowed to resume a semi-normal life,” said Owen

Owens’ petition for regional re-opening does not mean that all social distancing measures as well as safeguarding measures such as masks will be forsaken.

“Most everyone knows what the physical distancing norm is by now. Most of us can gauge six feet. I also think most of us can work out wearing a face covering or mask while we’re in public or on a job.  I also think most business owners can determine if their line of work is conducive to re-opening,” said Owen. 

Owen understands that there are areas that we need to work on and improve, which he plans to address in other channels, however he wants to assure business owners and employees that he is petitioning to get Louisiana back to work, safely. 

Owen believes that the State needs to be flexible enough to move out and allow certain regions to begin to open up. 

“I trust that State health officials will soon disseminate guidelines for opening and operating in public. I’m getting masks together and trust others will do the same, so we are all ready when we are given the green light to re-commence a somewhat normal life,” said Owen. 

Owen is grateful for the hard work of the Governor and his staff and their responsiveness to his inquiries and questions, as well as the State, Federal and local governments during these unsure times.

“I would ask two things of all our citizens:  (1) Remember who we are. We are Americans and we are Louisianans. Our ancestors crafted this grand thing we call self-governance and have proven time and time again that we do we well as free people. Stay strong and believe in who we are; we’ve weathered every storm, we’ve solved some big problems, and (2) Pray.   If you’re a praying person, seek the wisdom and face of God and lean on Him in this tough time.   God bless you all, and God bless our great State and Republic,” said Owen.

“Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I want to simply say ‘thank you.’ Though the COVID-19 crisis is not over, I want to express my appreciation for the way our communities have risen to this challenge.  You have risen as Americans, as Louisianans and as free people. I grieve the loss of life and ache or those who have been sickened by this foreign virus. But, we’ve come together and have fared better than many others in our State and country.”