Louisiana news briefs for Friday, May 28

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JUNE 30: Governor John Bel Edwards speaks onstage at the 2017 ESSENCE Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on June 30, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for 2017 ESSENCE Festival )

Edwards requests federal disaster declaration for recent floods

Gov. John Bel Edwards asked President Joe Biden on Friday to declare a federal disaster after severe weather and flooding earlier this month killed five people and damaged at least 2,000 homes.

Edwards requested FEMA Individual Assistance for Ascension, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Iberville and Lafayette parishes. Individual Assistance includes aid from FEMA related to housing and other needs. He also requested Small Business Administration assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding statewide.

Edwards declared a state of emergency for this disaster May 17.

One year after pandemic high point, unemployment rate stands at 6.1%

Louisiana’s April unemployment rate, based on numbers that have not been adjusted to reflect seasonal workforce trends, fell by 6.1 percentage points to 6.6% from the April 2020 rate of 12.7%, the Louisiana Workforce Commission reported Friday.

Since April 2020, the number of employed state residents increased by 149,937 from 1,774,424 to 1,924,631 in April 2021. The state added 979 jobs from March 2021.

Since April 2020, the number of unemployed people decreased by 123,215 from 259,225 to 136,010 in April 2021. When compared with March 2021, the number of unemployed people increased by 38.

New Orleans had the highest unemployment rate of the state’s nine metro areas at 8.1%, while Alexandria was the lowest with 4.4%.

State officials, restaurant association partner on ‘Shot for a Shot’ vaccination campaign

The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control is partnering with the Louisiana Restaurant Association to create the “Shot for a Shot” program, which partially will reimburse restaurants and bars around the state that offer a free drink to customers who have been vaccinated within the preceding seven days, the state revenue department announced.

Participating businesses will offer a free nonalcoholic or alcoholic beverage to customers who show proof of their completed vaccination regimen through the LA Wallet app or with their state-issued vaccination card between June 1 and June 30 or until funds are exhausted.

No taxpayer dollars will be used to compensate participating businesses, officials said. The LRA said it will partially reimburse restaurants and bars as funds allow.

The Louisiana Department of Health has listed a number of clinics offering vaccinations this weekend, including some that take walk-ins or allow for on-site appointments, on its website.

This article was originally posted on Louisiana news briefs for Friday, May 28

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