Edwards Ends Virus Restrictions, Lifts Schools’ Mask Mandate
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards is scrapping nearly every remaining coronavirus restriction in Louisiana and lifting the statewide requirement that students must wear a mask in the classroom and at school events.
The Democratic governor announced Tuesday that he'll keep the statewide public health emergency declaration in place. But Louisiana will have almost none of the rules governing businesses and behavior over the last 15 months of the pandemic. The Edwards administration cited the wide availability of the coronavirus vaccine in Louisiana. “For nearly 15 months, Louisiana has operated under necessary public health restrictions designed to save lives by slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Edwards said in a press release. “Thanks to the wide availability of vaccines and the 1.4 million Louisianans who already have gone sleeves up and after hitting a new low in hospitalizations, the order I have signed today contains the fewest state-mandated restrictions ever, though local governments and businesses may still and should feel empowered to take precautions that they see as necessary and prudent, including mandating masks. To be clear: COVID-19 is not over for our state or for our country. Anyone who has gotten the vaccine is now fully protected and can enter summer with confidence. Unfortunately, people who have not yet taken their COVID-19 vaccine remain at risk as more contagious COVID variants continue to spread and as we enter into hurricane season. Because you never know when you may have to leave home and utilize a shelter as the result of bad weather, I encourage all people to take the COVID-19 vaccine as the first step to getting prepared and keeping you and your loved ones safe.” Much of the doses of the coronavirus vaccine has not gone into arms, though.
Masks still will be required on public transit, in health care facilities and in prisons. Schools, businesses and local government officials can decide if they want to mandate masks.
(Story written by Melinda Deslatte/AP)