BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday signed an extension of his order keeping Louisiana in Phase Two for at least another three weeks.
The order also extends his statewide mask mandate, the closure of bars to on-premises consumption and the limitation on gatherings of more than 50 people through Friday, August 28.
As Edwards has repeatedly pointed out in his bi-weekly coronavirus briefings, the order to mandate masks and restrict bars matches recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the advice of public health experts.
The order was upheld by Judge Janice Clark in the 19th Judicial District Court Thursday, standing up to a legal challenge from Jefferson Parish business owners who claimed that the Democratic governor overstepped his legal authority in enacting the coronavirus rules.
In announcing the signing of the extension, the governor’s office notes that the order is largely unchanged from his previous one.
“The new order does remove a provision that allowed parishes to opt out of the statewide mask mandate if their parish dropped below a certain incidence level of COVID. No parish meets this requirement, and recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force support a statewide mandate. “
During his briefing earlier Thursday afternoon, Edwards said Louisiana has seen modest improvements in its COVID-19 situation in recent days, following his mask mandate and bar restrictions. He said that reports of COVID-like illness, case counts, and hospitalizations are trending down statewide, according to data from the Louisiana Department of Health.
“We’re just asking everyone to do your part and to understand that the progress we have started to see over the last several days is positive, but we can lose it. If we do what we did after Memorial Day, we will lose our positive gains,” Gov. Edwards said. “On the other hand, if more people will comply with the mitigation measures, we will actually accelerate the improvements we are making and they will be long-lasting. We can lower our transmission rate and save lives. We’ve got a long way to go, but I am optimistic that we are going to get there. We have flattened the curve once, and we can do it again by doubling down on these effective, proven mitigation measures.”
- Click here to read the renewal proclamation extending Phase Two.
- Click here to read the renewal proclamation pertaining to legal suspensions.