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NWLA parishes deciding on whether to keep mask mandate

Local

BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — One day after Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the lifting of the statewide mask mandate, local governments in Northwest Louisiana are adjusting their local policies on masks.

After declining coronavirus cases and rising vaccination numbers, Louisiana became the latest state to lift its mask mandate, effective Wednesday.

Governor John Bel Edwards says it’s now up to local governments and businesses to keep the mandate. However, many parishes are still debating on what’s best for their community. Here are how some of them are responding to having the option.

Mask requirements in Shreveport-Caddo Parish

According to a news release from Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins’ office Wednesday, all government buildings and offices in the city of Shreveport and Caddo Parish will still require masks.

While social distancing and masking are still strongly recommended by the CDC, the City of Shreveport and Parish of Caddo say they will adhere to the Governor’s Proclamation subject to certain exceptions.

All government buildings and offices of the City of Shreveport and Parish of Caddo shall continue to require all employees and visitors to wear a face-covering over the nose and mouth except:

  • any child under the age of eight years, however, all children between the ages of two and seven years old are strongly encouraged to wear a face-covering over their nose and mouth;
  • any individual with a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face-covering;
  • any individual seeking to communicate with someone who has or is suspected of having a communication disorder;
  • any individual giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience; or
  • any individual temporarily removing his or her face covering for identification
    purposes.

“Again, because COVID-19 and the spread of variants are still a real threat in our communities, wearing masks in public is still highly encouraged, especially when you do not know if someone around you has been vaccinated. In the event of increased COVID numbers, a mask mandate may be revisited,” the city said in a statement announcing the new guidelines.

Mask requirements in Bossier City

In Bossier City, masks no longer be required for city employees and optional for citizens who come to city hall.

“I think we’re going to relax the requirement and no longer require our employees to wear them in public,” said Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker. “And we’re going put signs on the door asking the citizens who come in, it’s their option if they want to wear a mask or not.”

Masks will still be required at schools, hospitals, nursing homes, on public transit and at some state government buildings.

Mask requirements in De Soto Parish

Meanwhile, Desoto Parish administrator Steve Brown said that “the police jury directed staff to comply with the governor’s proclamations and that is what we will do.”

Governor Edwards is warning residents that the lifting of the mask mandate is not a sign that the pandemic is over and that restrictions could return if cases get out of control. The current proclamation will be in effect through May 25.

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