New Orleans’ tourism and service industries are, predictably, taking a huge hit from COVID-19’s rapid spread. There’s little doubt that the tragic consequences of this pandemic will be felt beyond what anybody can predict at this time. That’s why we’ve elected to put together this quick guide on Coronavirus’s impact on the New Orleans economy. Allow us to shed some light on an understandably confusing and stressful situation.
Louisiana’s Response to Coronavirus
A variety of measures have defined Louisiana’s efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19. The Louisiana Department of Health presently advises the public to practice social distancing. This encompasses a number of practices:
- Using drive-through, delivery, or pickup options for dining rather than dining in-house at restaurants
- Maintaining distance from nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and retirement homes
- Older adults should avoid contact with younger populations and children
- Maintain six feet of distance between yourself and other individuals in public spaces
- Avoid crowded areas
- Do not engage in discretionary travel
As of March 19, Governor John Bel Edwards also activated over 150 members of the state’s National Guard. These men and women are prepared to help state residents acquire the shelter security and medical support that they require. The National Guard will also assist with traffic control at drive-through testing sites as they are created throughout the state.
The state department of health is taking a number of additional steps to improve the public’s safety and sense of security. They are:
- In contact with the CDC (and other local and national partners) to gather and share information
- Working with state health care providers to offer current recommendations for screening and testing for COVID-19
- Partnering with EMS providers to share proper protection procedures
- Keeping staff apprised of updates and sharing information with partners and the public
The Potential Impacts of COVID-19 on Louisiana Individuals and Businesses
As representatives for a variety of individuals and businesses throughout New Orleans, our team understands the tremendous impact that local restrictions may have on the city’s residents. We have no way to guarantee your eligibility for compensation– or to estimate when cases like yours may be handled– but we can help you begin your path to a solution.
Remember: all of us will be impacted by COVID-19 in unique ways. Individuals and businesses alike are experiencing (and will continue to experience) unprecedented circumstances in the weeks and months to come.
Can businesses recoup losses?
One way for business owners to attempt to make up for lost funds is to leverage business interruption coverage. This variety of insurance helps businesses cover losses from direct interruptions to their operations. In many cases, these interruptions take the form of fires and natural disasters. Another form of this insurance– known as contingent business interruption coverage– helps mitigate financial loss due to problems with suppliers or vendors.
The coverage best for your business depends on how Coronavirus has impacted operations. If, for example, most of your loss stems from issues with vendors, you may be interested in contingent business interruption coverage. Those who have grappled with more direct impacts are likely to fare better with standard business interruption coverage.
The unfortunate news is that your policy may not be flexible enough to allow for compensation based on Coronavirus-based losses. Business owners should review their business interruption coverage policies; if your policy includes business interruption coverage as an endorsement, you’ll likely enjoy broader coverage than those whose policies include the coverage as a basic term.
Can individuals recoup losses?
The state of Louisiana is doing all it can to support individuals impacted by COVID-19. Whether you fear you may be sick yourself or you’re just uncertain of how to pay rent due to unsteady or terminated employment, there are resources available to you. New Orleans residents can take advantage of a wealth of opportunities for assistance:
- Food and hygiene product assistance
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- NOLA Public School Child Nutrition Services and Feeding Program
- Second Harvest Food Bank
- NOLA Tree Project Meal Distribution
- The JLNO Diaper Bank
- Legal assistance
- Residential evictions have been suspended until April 24, 2020, with further orders to follow
- Immediate financial and legal assistance for homelessness prevention (including rental assistance and foreclosure mitigation)
- For workers
- Unemployment Insurance (according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, those eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits will also qualify for SNAP benefits; check the website for eligibility details)
- Gig Economy Workers Fund
- Catholic Charities Assistance for Benefits Enrollment (assistance completing SNAP applications and re-certifications, Medicaid applications, and Benefit Enrollment Checkups)
- The Sewerage and Water Board has suspended water service shut-offs and will adhere to the policy for the entirety of the Mayor’s Declared Emergency
- Entergy is halting customer disconnections if nonpayment is the result of the coronavirus for the next 30 days
- Verizon and Cox are waiving late fees for residential or small businesses impacted by coronavirus; they will not terminate service to any resident or business whose inability to pay is due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus
Working as a Community to Mitigate the Impacts of Coronavirus
As members of the New Orleans community, we understand how critical it is to come together to mitigate Coronavirus’s impacts on local people and businesses. Our commitment to our clients and community does not begin and end when a case or settlement does.
At Alvendia Kelly & Demarest, our team works diligently to support and empower the populations around us. It’s one reason why we want to serve as a point of knowledge and relief during these hectic times. If you have questions or concerns about how COVID-19 could impact your life or the health of your small business, you’re not alone. We are working tirelessly to bring you the latest news and support that can impact Louisianian’s lives.
Remember: your personal safety and wellbeing don’t only benefit you. Taking steps to stay healthy– and remaining appropriately cautious– can help minimize the impacts of the coronavirus on your life and the lives of those around you.