COVID-19 facemasks not mandated statewide in Louisiana

Published 10:27 am Wednesday, February 16, 2022

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On Wednesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards extended Louisiana’s COVID-19 public health emergency order to support Louisiana’s response to the pandemic, but without any remaining required mitigation measures.

While masks are not required statewide in Louisiana, there are still federal regulations requiring them in health care settings and on transit. In addition, local governments, school districts and businesses may choose to require masks as they see fit, based on the level of COVID in their communities.

The Governor’s Office, the Louisiana Department of Health and the CDC still recommend that all people wear masks when they are indoors in public or in a large outdoor crowd while all areas of the state are considered high transmission areas for the coronavirus.

“While we remain in an Omicron-fueled surge, we are definitely on the down swing,” Edwards said. “There is a lot of COVID out there in Louisiana, and fortunately we have many more tools available to us now to prevent severe illness and death including safe and effective vaccines, booster doses, therapeutic interventions, and better quality masks.

“While my order does not include any required mitigation measures, it is very important that people continue to take into account their own personal risk of serious illness if they get COVID, including if they are immunocompromised, have comorbid health conditions or are unvaccinated,” Edwards said. “I hope we never go back to the kind of strict mitigation measures needed before the vaccines. I also pray each day that more Louisianans will go sleeves up against COVID and get their vaccines and booster doses, because we know these save lives.

“As we move deeper into the Mardi Gras season and with the continued return of big events and gatherings, people should be aware that the CDC recommends that in communities with high transmission rates, currently all 64 of our parishes, people wear masks in public in crowds, especially indoors. If you got your booster dose today, you could have supercharged immunity by Mardi Gras.”

The governor’s current order expires on Wednesday, March 16, though he may end it before that date. The original COVID public health emergency was signed on March 11, 2020, and has been extended and altered as the COVID situation in Louisiana has changed. The Governor’s Office is currently working with Cabinet officials to determine if allowing the order to expire would hinder Louisiana’s response to COVID.