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Winnsboro officials have enacted a stricter curfew to deter those who may want to venture out of their homes for “non-essential excursions.” 

A round-the-clock curfew has been set for juveniles while curfew for adults is 8 p.m. until 5 a.m., said Winnsboro Mayor Sonny Dumas. The curfews will be enforced seven days a week.

“If someone is out past curfew they will be ticketed by Winnsboro police officers or sheriff deputies,” Dumas said. “I strongly urge all citizens of Winnsboro to obey the order issued. Compliance is a must.”

The new curfew was put in place in hopes of stemming the tide of COVID-19 cases in Winnsboro and Franklin Parish. The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) reported 28 cases in Franklin Parish as of noon, April 7.

In neighboring parishes, Richland, Caldwell and Catahoula each reported 13 cases, according to the LDH. Madison Parish had two cases, and Tensas is the only parish in Louisiana not yet reporting a COVID-19 case.  

The area has seen a steady rise in cases since Gov. John Bel Edwards issued his “stay at home” order March 23.

Edwards issued the order to combat the spread of COVID-19. The order directed all residents to shelter at home and limit movements outside their homes beyond essential needs.

During this order, residents can go to grocery, convenience, warehouse stores, pharmacies and medical appointments.

They can go to restaurants for take-out, delivery or drive-thru, go for walks, bike rides for exercise but keep six feet between each other.  They can also walk their pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary. 

Residents can help someone get necessary supplies and receive deliveries from any business that delivers.

In the “stay at home” order, people should not visit friends and family if there is no urgent need, or visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, or other residential care facilities.

Stay at home is a stricter form of social distancing. Stay at home means only go out for essential services, stay six feet or more away from others and do not gather in groups.

Governmental meetings

Locally, public bodies have either postponed their monthly meetings or have closed them to the public in response to Edwards’ “stay at home” order.

Winnsboro Town Council’s regular meeting is still scheduled for April 20, but Edwards’ social distancing mandates will be in place, Dumas said.

In Wisner, a Town Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday night to possibly pass an ordinance allowing the municipality to borrow $70,000. Money will be used to pay repair bills from a major water leak which occurred late last year.

In order to comply with the 10-person mandate, the public is not invited to attend, but press will be allowed.

Gilbert Town Council’s regular April meeting has been canceled, but all items scheduled for April will be addressed in the May meeting. Personnel are available at the Town Hall and continue to process payments and assist residents.

Baskin’s April Town Council meeting has been postponed until next month.

Additionally, the first annual Baskin Spring Sling 5K color run has been postponed and will be re-scheduled.

Franklin Parish Police Jury’s April 9 meeting has been postponed until further notice. Committee meetings will be held a week earlier, and agendas will be posted 24 hours prior to the meeting. Committee members will be present in person or by conference call, and the press will be allowed to come.

Statewide, the rate of new hospitalizations and ventilator usage, key measures in determining when the state’s healthcare system could be overwhelmed, appeared to be slowing, Edwards said in a Monday press conference.

“We are hopeful that we’re seeing the beginning of the flattening of the curve,” Edwards said.

Edwards cautioned that mitigation efforts, which include staying home as much as possible and keeping your distance from others when you must go out, still need to continue. During the conference, he praised health-care workers for learning how to better manage COVID-19 patients, leading to shorter hospital stays.

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