NEW ORLEANS — Another major achievement in the battle against the coronavirus. One day ago, the White House announced fully vaccinated Americans can stop wearing masks.
Now, Louisiana residents and visitors are wondering what’s next for the mask mandate. That’s something Governor John Bel Edwards and other local officials addressed today.
Governor Edwards, attending the governors Westbank luncheon this afternoon, with dozens of local leaders.
“When I walked in this room today, that was the first time in 14 months that I walked into an indoor venue with people without a mask on,” said Governor Edwards.
During his speech, he discussed some of the mask changes coming to Louisiana.
“We’re going to lift those mask mandates in state buildings in order to conform to this newest CDC guidance. I do want to caution everybody that businesses make their own decisions, and I suspect most businesses will be doing this,” said Edwards.
Meanwhile, New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell loosened the mask mandate for the city.
“We are ready, and we are prepared to remove the mask mandate for individuals who have been vaccinated in our city,” said Mayor Cantrell.
But, there are still some places where masks will be required.
“City government buildings, K-12 schools, healthcare facilities and on public transportation networks, you will still be required to mask up,” said Cantrell.
The relaxed guidelines are happening because folks in New Orleans are getting vaccinated.
“Over 40% of all residents, everybody eligible or not, are fully vaccinated, but over 50% of anyone who is eligible has been fully vaccinated, over half our people,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, Director of New Orleans Health Department.
Still, Governor Edwards says Louisiana as a whole doesn’t have enough demand for vaccinations.
“We’re not ordering all the doses the federal government is making available to us because we don’t have people showing up to get the vaccine, and that tears at my heart,” said Edwards.
The updated mask mandates is an example of how the vaccine is our shot back to normalcy.
Governor Edwards says across the state, there are more than 1,500 places where you can get vaccinated. In our area, you can get vaccinated at places like Walmart, Sam’s club and Walgreens.
According to the state’s new mask mandate, fully vaccinated residents no longer have to wear masks indoors except in certain situations, including schools, public transit, prisons and jails, and health care facilities.