BATON ROUGE, La. — On Saturday, July 11, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards announced a mandatory mask requirement for Louisiana and ordered bars in the state to only provide curbside takeout or delivery effective Monday, July 13.
The mandate allows for parishes without high COVID-19 incidence to opt-out, if they so choose. To have an acceptable incidence to opt-out, the parish must have fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 people for the most recent two-week period. As of July 11, only three parishes in Louisiana do not exceed that standard: Grant, Red River, and West Feliciana. The Louisiana Department of Health website provides data on incident rates by parish which is available here. (Click on a parish to see the incidence percentage for June 22 to July 5.)
According to the Office of the Governor, the mandate will require 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
They do strongly recommend masks for children ages 2 to 7.
The closure of bars to all on premises consumption comes after the state identified at least 36 outbreaks involving bars, which impacted at least 405 people.
The new order also limits the size of social gatherings to 50 people indoors. It also limits outdoor social gatherings to 50 people if individuals cannot avoid being within six feet of each other.
The Office of the Governor released the following statement from Governor Edwards as part of a press release:
“Cases in Louisiana continue to increase, including setting a record-high number of new cases reported in one day, today and yesterday. More than two thousand new COVID infections reported each of these days and increased hospitalizations are signs that we continue to go in the wrong direction in our work to control COVID-19 in our state. While I had hoped to avoid going backwards on restrictions, it is obvious that it is necessary to slow the spread of infection in our state, as COVID-19 has spread to every corner, at a level higher than we have previously seen. This is why I am now mandating face coverings statewide and also closing all bars in Louisiana to on-premises consumption, in addition to putting in limits on the size of indoor gatherings… Right now, all Louisianans need to work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by wearing their face masks, keeping social distance, washing their hands frequently and staying at home when they are feeling sick. These are reasonable expectations while we fight to reduce the spread of the illness in our state. This approach also gives us the best possible chance to again flatten the curve without moving back to Phase One.”Gov. John Bel Edwards, D-La
The mandate will go into effect on Monday, July 13, 2020, at 12:01 A.M. The order is set to expire on July 24, 2020, but could be extended.
To read the full proclamation, click here.
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