New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said she will not be bullied into reopening the city but rather will look to the data to decide. Last week, she extended the city's stay-at-home order through mid-May.

“The data will drive us and not a specific date,” she said during a press conference on Monday reports

Cantrell's statement comes after a letter from four business owners urging for the city to reopen by May 1 was published in a local newspaper. The authors said the mayor’s recommendation to not hold events until 2021 was "deeply unsustainable” and her decision will "irreparably damage if not destroy our city's culturally important French Quarter — our tourist industry, and most businesses in general."

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state should be able to begin to reopen soon and mandated a stay-at-home order until April 30, reports WDSU. Cantrell's order was extended until May 15. 

She asked that people come to her directly if they have concerns.

"A way to communicate is not through the media, it's directly, and I welcome that," Cantrell said according to WWL. "I know that I'm more than accessible and more than a team player as it relates to my partners, and that means thinking regionally."

She said the businessmen were prioritizing money over public health and reassured her constituents she is focused on the latter.

“To the citizens of the city of New Orleans, please know that I will and have always continued to put the health of the people first. They are the top priority and I will always tell you straight,” the city's first female mayor said. “And not only that but you can be reassured that I will not be bullied in making decisions that are the best and are in the best interest of the citizens of New Orleans."

The 48-year-old also addressed comments made on Friday by the head of the Jefferson Parish Chamber of Commerce, Todd Murphy, who accused Cantrell of recommending the cancellation of fall festivals without consulting surrounding parishes. Cantrell said she has been in contact with neighboring parishes and does not believe it will be safe to hold festivals in the fall, not only because the coronavirus pandemic may not be over, but it will also be hurricane season.

“These things I have to think about,” Cantrell said. “They are not driven by a dollar. They are driven by the public health of this community.”

New Orleans’ Health Director Jennifer Avegno said the city will look to the CDC in deciding when to reopen. 

While the CDC says an area can reopen once their cases of new infections decline over a 14-day period, Cantrell said she may extend the decline period to 21 days. With New Orleans being a heavy tourist destination, she is worried travelers will bring the coronavirus after the city's numbers have declined. She said that while she has been in contact with business and community leaders, her main concern is her citizens.

“I understand that I do not need any permission from anyone in terms of doing my job, and I'm going to do my job to the best of my ability, again, as I have demonstrated. The people of New Orleans gave me their permission when they elected me mayor of the city of New Orleans, coming on two years now,” the mayor said. “We can not fall into any false narratives … when it comes to the public health of our citizens, and there is no economy without public health, hand in hand.”