Gov. John Bel Edwards has announced that a statewide mask mandate put in place during the fight against COVID-19 will end when his latest executive order takes effect on Wednesday.
"With basically flat or small increases with the very low and stable baseline, I've decided we are going to take some steps in further reducing restrictions," Edwards told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
Edwards said the decision on whether a mask mandate will continue now falls to parish leaders and business owners.
The Governor noted masks will still be worn in schools, colleges, health care facilities and some state government buildings. Also, masks will be required on public transit due to a CDC order.
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"Just like other states that have lifted the mask mandates, it's not an end to mask wearing. It's not an end to recommendations that people wear masks, especially if they're vulnerable, if they're unvaccinated," said Edwards.
The latest executive order will also ease restrictions on live music venues and allow some businesses to re-open waiting areas. According to the Governor's office:
For theaters, event spaces, festivals and fairs and other outdoor events, there will be no limitations on outdoor capacity. Indoors, a facility may choose to operate at 75 percent capacity while enforcing six feet of social distancing or at 100 percent capacity with masking required and enforced.
For indoor sporting events, capacity is limited to 75 percent of capacity with social distancing, or 100 percent capacity if a mask mandate is enforced at the venue. Capacity will not be limited outdoors.
For live music, new regulations will require 10 feet of space between the stage and the audience and crowds must be seated. Bars will still only be open to those 21 and older.
“It’s an exciting day for Louisiana’s economic recovery from the pandemic," said Adam Knapp, President and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. "Since the beginning of the pandemic, BRAC has maintained a position of supporting “Safe at Work” strategies, meaning that to the extent that it is safe and practical, businesses should be open to their fullest extent. We have heard from businesses in recent weeks that COVID restrictions have cost them business activity and productivity. This will be an opportunity for business owners to reassess their protocols and establish safety practices that work for them, their employees, and their customers. We are hopeful this will result in job growth across the region."