Virus roundup … 

• State officials have expanded Louisiana’s phase two reopening guidelines to allow live music in bars and nightclubs. However, the change in policy does not automatically allow all venues to host live music. Business owners must first apply to the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal and Louisiana Department of Health for approval before the music can begin, WAFB-TV reports.

• A geneticist at LSU Health says a mutated strain of coronavirus now circulating in the U.S. may be more infectious, WDSU reports. Dr. Lucio Miele, professor and head of genetics at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, says the mutated strain of SARS-CoV-2 may be a “new and improved” virus that is better at infecting human cells than the original strain from Wuhan, China. His assessment is based on a new study from the Scripps Research Institute reporting that a previously discovered mutation in the virus spike protein gene makes it more stable and abundant.

• U.S. home construction rebounded 4.3% in May after steep declines caused by shutdowns due to the coronavirus. The Commerce Department reported this morning that new homes were started at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000 last month after steep declines in March and April. However, construction activity remains 23.2% below last year’s pace.

• Superdome officials say positive COVID-19 tests have come back for 32 workers contracted to perform stadium renovations. A statement released by the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District on Tuesday says affected workers have been isolated from the site. “This post-Memorial Day increase is consistent with what 21 other states, not including Louisiana, are experiencing at this stage of the pandemic as more restrictions have been lifted for travel, shopping, and work,” the Superdome statement said.

Read more stories on how the coronavirus is impacting the Baton Rouge business community. See a roundup of resources available to those impacted by the pandemic. Click here to see a 225 magazine list of local restaurants offering patio seating or indoor dining during phase two of reopening.  

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