TODAY: Statewide mask mandate goes into effect

TODAY: Statewide mask mandate goes into effect
Governor John Bel Edwards announced a statewide mask mandate that will go into effect Monday, July 13. (Source: WAFB-TV)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WVUE) - Governor John Bel Edwards announced a statewide mask mandate that will go into effect Monday, July 13.

Masks will be required for anyone 8 years-old and above unless a health condition prohibits you from wearing one.

Edwards said that if you have a health condition that prevents you from wearing a mask or any other serious health condition, you should stay home.

Gov. Edwards issues statewide mask mandate, additional restrictions on bars

Parishes can opt out of the mask mandate if they meet certain criteria. Only three parishes, Grant, West Feliciana, and Red River fit that criteria.

Gov. Edwards also announced that bars will be shut down. Bars that serve food will be allowed to serve take-out.

“Closing bars was not an easy decision to make. Young people are showing higher positive numbers,” Gov. Edwards said. “We cannot let this illness win. If you want to keep the economy open, not go back to phase one, open schools next month, these are minor prices to pay, especially those who don’t like putting on a face cover.”

Businesses will have to urge customers to wear face coverings.

“We aren’t going to be out there with a goal to write citations,” Gov. Edwards said. “If someone refuses to wear a mask, they should be asked to leave.”

Indoor social gatherings will be limited to 50 people.

Churches and essential businesses can still operate under the Phase 2 guidelines meaning more than 50 people will be allowed inside.

Masks will be be required outdoors when you can not social distance from others.

These restrictions will remain in place until July 24.

Dr. Joseph Kanter with the state health department said those ages 18-29 are now the highest case count in the state and the older age groups are seeing an increase as well. “

“We have to turn this around,” Kanter said.

A third of patients hospitalized are in ICU.

The state fire marshal’s office will issue

The Louisiana Dept. of Health is reporting more than 76,000 cases of Coronavirus in the state.

Mayor Cantrell released a statement on the state’s latest mandate:

“I am in full support of the new statewide restrictions announced today, and believe they will make the people of New Orleans and the people of Louisiana safer in the face of the COVID pandemic,” said Mayor Cantrell. “I thank Gov. Edwards for his leadership. None of this is easy, and no one wants to go backwards --- but public health and public safety must remain our top priority. Without a healthy population, there can be no economic recovery. We are all in this together.”

SEE MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE HERE

The Louisiana Department of Health updates its website daily at noon.

Guidelines for Opening America Again include:

PHASE 2

Individuals

ALL VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS should continue to shelter in place. Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents.

All individuals, WHEN IN PUBLIC (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas), should maximize physical distance from others. Social settings of more than 50 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed.

NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL can resume.

Employers

Continue to ENCOURAGE TELEWORK, whenever possible and feasible with business operations.

Close COMMON AREAS where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce moderate social distancing protocols.

NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL can resume.

Strongly consider SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS for personnel who are members of a VULNERABLE POPULATION.

Specific Types of Employers

SCHOOLS AND ORGANIZED YOUTH ACTIVITIES (e.g., daycare, camp) can reopen.

VISITS TO SENIOR CARE FACILITIES AND HOSPITALS should be prohibited. Those who do interact with residents and patients must adhere to strict protocols regarding hygiene.

LARGE VENUES (e.g., sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship) can operate under moderate physical distancing protocols.

ELECTIVE SURGERIES can resume, as clinically appropriate, on an outpatient and in-patient basis at facilities that adhere to CMS guidelines.

GYMS can remain open if they adhere to strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols.

BARS may operate with diminished standing-room occupancy, where applicable and appropriate.

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