SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — A Shreveport funeral home is keeping its mask policy in place following Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate being lifted Wednesday.
Gov. John Bel Edwards lifted the mask mandate in Louisiana Tuesday, allowing local leaders and business owners to set their own policies regarding masks.
The owners of Heavenly Gates Funeral Home have opted to continue requiring masks, but funeral attendant Phyllis Henderson, whose husband is one of the owners of the business, says it has created the potential for some competitors to have an unfair advantage.
“It needs to be a mandate from the state that all funeral homes required masks or that none required masks. We need one rule and one rule for everyone.”
On Tuesday, Edwards cited improving overall baseline numbers and a steep decline in deaths of those aged 75 and older as one of the main reasons it was time to lift the mandate.
“And you see the number of deaths decreasing, you see the number of hospitalizations very low and stable.”
Henderson says the funeral home opted to keep the mask requirement in place because of the toll they have seen first-hand COVID-19 has taken on the community.
“In 2020, we buried more people than we’ve ever buried since the funeral home was open in 1999.”
Henderson said Heavenly Gates can’t enforce mask-wearing when families go to the cemetery since it isn’t on their property, but she still recommends they wear a mask for the safety of others.
“It’s your choice. Think about people you will come into contact with, like your relatives and friends.”