BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)-The Louisiana Department of Health reports the highest number in a single day since the start of the pandemic. The high transmission rates are leading many entities to reinstate their mask mandates.

“As we’re in another surge, we felt like it was time to make sure that we’re protecting both staff and visitors,” said BREC Communication Director Cheryl Michelet.

The Omicron variant is plaguing the state with new cases rising each day. Baton Rouge schools, city buildings and more opted to mask back up.

“We just are taking our responsibility seriously to protect our visitors and our staff. And so if you go into an indoor facility, then we’re asking you to wear a mask, and we’re asking you to wear a mask regardless of how much time you spend in there,” said Michelet.

Masks are required when members enter or are walking around the fitness center.

“If they are on a piece of equipment, they can remove the mask until they are finished with the machine,” she explained.

Michelet said 12 employees tested positive for COVID-19 following the new surge, so they said keeping everyone safe is a priority.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen sort of an ebb and flow in staff coming down with the virus right now. But this one is, you know, it seems to be more easily transmissible,” said Michelet.

If you feel uncomfortable while wearing a mask and working out, you can always visit some of their outdoor facilities to get some fresh air.

“BREC has 175 parks, and we’re inviting everybody to come out, get healthy, de-stress during this time and spend some time in our parks,” said Michelet. “We have 22 parks with outdoor fitness equipment. You can go here to look for amenities at parks, and this page specifically tells you where the fitness centers and outdoor fitness stations are located.”

Although 2022 is starting out on a sour note, BREC believes we will get through this soon.

“We are working together. And so, you know, we’re watching the numbers, we’re watching the CDC recommendations, we’re watching the governor’s announcement and we’re following suit to do what we can to keep our staff and the public safe,” she further explained.

East Baton Rouge Parish also continued their mask guidance.

“We have continued to make all public health decisions based upon the most recently available data and based upon the advice of our health care professionals. The health and safety of our staff and students always come first. We will continue to evaluate the data and will consider optional masking at such a time when it is safe for both students and employees to do so,” said Superintendent Sito Narcisse in an statement.