• 73°

Governor: Masks no longer needed indoors, in most cases

On Friday, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that based on the recommendations by the CDC and in consultation with the Louisiana Dept. of Health, those who are fully vaccinated no longer have to wear masks indoors except in certain situations including: educational facilities, public transit, correctional settings, and health care facilities as regulated by LDH. This is in addition to recent guidance that also eased restrictions on masks outdoors for those who are fully vaccinated. Businesses may decide whether to continue requiring patrons to wear masks and are not limited by the revised proclamation. Further, local governments will continue to be able to make decisions to have further restrictions, including face covering requirements, in place.

“Today is a great day and a clear sign that all three COVID vaccines currently available are not only safe but extremely effective at protecting us from the virus and helping us return to the normal way of life we have all been working hard to achieve,” Edwards said. “Following the new CDC guidance and in consultation with the LDH, I have revised the current proclamation to give anyone who is fully vaccinated the option to no longer wear a mask while indoors in most places. We have made tremendous progress in Louisiana with nearly 3 million doses administered and more than 1.3 million residents fully vaccinated and protected. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to decrease and as more people, which now includes adolescents ages 12-15, are able to get the vaccine and that gives us an even greater opportunity to put this pandemic behind us. There may still be some who choose to wear their masks in any setting, and those individuals should be respected and supported in their choices. Businesses may also continue to determine whether masks are required. I encourage those who have not yet gotten the COVID vaccine to do so as soon as possible and to use this as motivation to ensure your loved ones, neighbors and communities are as safe as possible. This is further proof that by working together there isn’t anything we can’t accomplish, and those who have gone sleeves up against COVID can begin getting back to the things they know and love, without the stress.”

LDH has reviewed the CDC guidance that says anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing, and agrees. The medical research is clear: if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic.

“After our own review, we at the Louisiana Department of Health concur and eagerly adopt the updated CDC masking guidance. Growing evidence shows vaccines work in the real world, they are effective against the variants currently circulating in the country and our state, and if you’ve gone sleeves up, you’re less likely to spread the virus,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer. “Unfortunately, this also means that those who remain unvaccinated remain at risk of getting and spreading COVID. We encourage everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine now to protect themselves and their families, and go into summer with confidence.”

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC also approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for those ages 12-15. Already nearly 14,000 young people from 12-17 have started the vaccine process, and this number will continue to grow. More than 70 percent of Louisianans age 65 and older have completed their vaccine series. In total, more than 1.35 million Louisianans have completed their vaccine series.

A growing number of studies on the COVID vaccines have shown the following:

  • More than 90 percent effective in real-world settings at preventing mild and severe disease, hospitalization, and death.
  • Effective against the variants currently circulating in the country and state.
  • Those who are vaccinated are less likely to spread the virus.

There are currently about 1,500 locations in Louisiana that offer the COVID-19 vaccine. To get your questions answered, find a provider or event near you, or get your appointment scheduled, just call the COVID Vaccine Hotline at 1-855-453-0774.