Gov. Edwards issues mask mandate, closes bars amid rise in cases of COVID-19

Coronavirus

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Governor John Bel Edwards issues a mandate requiring masks be worn by anyone age 8 and older with some exceptions to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana.

Edwards said parishes with rates of new cases lower than 100 cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks can opt out of that requirement.

The governor also closed bars throughout the state starting on Monday, June 13, though bars will be allowed to continue curbside service.

Gatherings are now limited to 50 people and the new order ends on July 24.

Gov. Edwards provided details about the mask mandate below:

The statewide mask mandate applies to all 64 parishes in Louisiana. However, parishes with a COVID-19 incidence of fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 people for the most recent two-week period for which data is available could choose to opt out of the mandate. Parish presidents do not have to opt out and may choose to keep a mask mandate in place. Currently, only three parishes in Louisiana do not exceed this standard, which will be updated every other week by the Louisiana Department of Health: Grant, Red River and West Feliciana.

The order requires face coverings for everyone ages 8 and older except for the following:

Anyone who has a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering
Anyone who is consuming a drink or food
Anyone who is trying to communicate with a person who is hearing impaired
Anyone who is giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience
Anyone temporarily removing his or her face covering for identification purposes
Anyone who is a resident of a parish without a high COVID incidence that has opted out of the masking mandate
Masks are strongly recommended for children ages 2 to 7.

CLOSURE OF BARS TO ALL ON PREMISES CONSUMPTION

All bars, including those with food permits from the Louisiana Department of Health, will be closed to on-premises consumption. They can operate for curbside takeout or delivery service only.

Since the start of the crisis, Louisiana has identified at least 36 outbreaks, impacting at least 405 people, involving bars, which were actually closed under the Governor’s original Stay at Home order. Public health officials believe going to bars is a higher public health risk than visiting other types of businesses because people are socializing and cannot wear masks when they drink. In addition, young people under the age of 30 make up the largest percentage of new COVID cases in Louisiana.

GATHERING SIZE

The new order also limits the size of social gatherings to 50 people indoors. Outdoor social gatherings are also limited to 50 people if individuals cannot avoid being within six feet of one another.

This crowd size limitation shall not apply to those businesses deemed essential as defined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency or any businesses and organizations operating at 50% capacity pursuant to Paragraphs (1) through (6) of Subsection (G) of Section 2 of 83 JBE 2020, including churches and other faith-based organizations.

The 50-person limit will apply to indoor gatherings, like receptions, weddings and others. The changes are based on the advice of public health officials.

Click here to read the proclamation.

“I’ve said it before, a public health crisis of this nature- if the people of Louisiana insist that we enforce our way through it, we are not going to be successful.” said Edwards.

There have been 3,272 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths according to LDH.

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