Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards Extends Mask Mandate

Posted on: September 30, 2021, 02:24h. 

Last updated on: September 30, 2021, 02:33h.

Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) this week has renewed Louisiana’s indoor mask mandate for another month. 

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards
During a speaking engagement, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) displays a COVID-19 mask. Edwards has renewed the indoor mask mandate for another month. (The Advocate)

The governor’s mandate is in effect through Oct. 27. It applies to casinos, schools, restaurants, and other businesses, including gyms and retail stores. If the governor wants to keep the mandate in place, he is required to renew it monthly. 

The mask requirement is posted on casino websites, reminding patrons to wear a face covering inside casino property.

Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel and Casino added an additional note to its website, citing a city-specific requirement.

“The City of New Orleans requires proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within 72 hours to enter indoor establishments, including Harrah’s Casino,” the resort’s website states. “In addition, masks are required to be worn at all times.” A PCR test is used to detect the presence of a virus.  

Harrah’s is the only land-based casino in Louisiana. The state also is home to 13 riverboat casinos and four racinos — horse tracks with slot machines. 

A riverboat in Lake Charles, damaged last year in a hurricane, is moving ashore in 2022 as a land-based casino. Also, a shuttered riverboat in Bossier City plans to reopen as a casino on Lake Pontchartrain’s north shore near Slidell, pending a public vote.

Low Vaccination Rate

On his website, the governor noted that while there has been an improvement in the state’s “COVID-19 situation,” the numbers are still “incredibly high.”

“This is why, to support continued decreases in COVID-19 hospitalizations, cases, and deaths, I am extending Louisiana’s statewide indoor mask mandate for another four weeks,” Edwards said.

Statewide, more than 12,200 people have died of the coronavirus, with another 1,600 deaths likely attributed to COVID-19, according to the Associated Press.

Of COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the state, 87 percent are not fully vaccinated, the governor’s Facebook page states.

Louisiana has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the US, with about 45 percent of the state’s eligible people fully vaccinated, the Associated Press reported. Nationally, about 55 percent of the eligible population is vaccinated.

On Wednesday, Edwards noted on his Facebook page that there have 14 COVID-19 “severe pregnancy outcomes in Louisiana since mid-July.”

“All 14 cases involved unvaccinated mothers and resulted in 6 maternal deaths and 10 fetal deaths,” the page states.

Mandate Prompts Facebook Comments

The governor’s Facebook message this week regarding the mask-mandate renewal has generated hundreds of comments on the social media site.

A Facebook user identified as John Haughton is among those who criticized Edwards for the mandate.

“I swear this governor doesn’t know of what the hell is going on in his own state,” Haughton wrote. “Almost no one (has) been wearing the face diaper for months now. Which is why the numbers are getting better.”

Other supported the governor’s decision.

“This surge is mainly killing the unvaccinated and some kids that I guess no one cares, which is typical of these types,” wrote a user identified as Angelas McCabe. “If this trend continues, there won’t be many whining about masks left, but, hey, it’s their prerogative.”