Governor John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday that he was extending the mask mandate in Louisiana for an additional month.
“There is no doubt that our COVID-19 situation in Louisiana has improved since the peak of our fourth surge, which was largely driven by the Delta variant, and for that I am deeply grateful,” he said while announcing his executive order.
“Even so, the amount of COVID in Louisiana is still incredibly high, at 243 cases for every 100,000 people, as it is disproportionately driven by transmission in those five to 18 years old,” he added. “This is why — to support continued decreases in COVID-19 hospitalizations, cases and deaths — I am extending Louisiana’s statewide indoor mask mandate for another four weeks, including in our K-12 schools and on college campuses.”
“The Democratic governor reinstated the mask mandate in August as Louisiana faced its worst spike in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, with hospital leaders describing grim conditions caused by the influx of COVID-19 patients. People infected with the delta variant of the coronavirus filled up hospital beds and damaged access to inpatient health care services for people seeking treatment for non-coronavirus illnesses,” per AP News.
Edwards credits mask-wearing as a necessary step during the fourth surge of coronavirus in the state. He also said it kept students safe as they returned to school.
Under the mandate, “face masks that properly cover the wearer’s mouth and nose should be worn indoors at all times unless a person is in a home,” the governor’s office says.
Masks are required for students age 5 or older or enrolled in kindergarten. They are encouraged for children ages two to four “as tolerated.”
Exemptions are approved for anyone with a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering; consuming a drink or food; trying to communicate with a person who is hearing impaired; giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience; or temporarily removing his or her face covering for identification purpose.
Louisiana residents are encouraged to work remotely if possible, avoid nonessential trips outside of the home, and practice social distancing.
Currently, the Louisiana Health Department considers every parish in the state to be at the “highest” risk for COVID-19.