Following months of improvement in COVID-19 hospitalizations and with nearly three million vaccine doses administered, Gov. Edwards signed an updated public health emergency order
last week that removes all remaining business capacity restrictions and the vast majority of masking requirements. The announcement said Louisiana hit its lowest level of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the very early days of the pandemic.”
For nearly 15 months, Louisiana has operated under necessary public health restrictions designed to save lives by slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Edwards said. “Thanks to the wide availability of vaccines and the 1.4 million Louisianans who already have gone sleeves up and after hitting a new low in hospitalizations, the order I have signed today contains the fewest state-mandated restrictions ever, though local governments and businesses may still and should feel empowered to take precautions that they see as necessary and prudent, including mandating masks. To be clear: COVID-19 is not over for our state or for our country. Anyone who has gotten the vaccine is now fully protected and can enter summer with confidence.”
According to the newest order, masks will be required in educational settings until the end of the current academic semester at which time state and local oversight boards will set their own masking policies. The Louisiana Department of Health will continue to revise guidance and masking recommendations for summer camps, following CDC guidance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that it was safe for vaccinated people to not wear masks in most settings.
Under order of the State Health Officer, masks continue to be required in healthcare settings, which is a federal mandate. In addition, masks are required on public transportation and in jails
and prisons, as per federal guidance.
Local governments and businesses may choose to have stronger restrictions than the state does and the Governor encourages Louisianans to respect all local or business mandates, especially when it comes to masking.
The Governor, the Louisiana Department of Health, the CDC and numerous public health officials recommend that unvaccinated individuals continue to wear a face mask in public and when they are with people outside of their households to reduce their likelihood of contracting COVID19.
Right now, there are three safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines widely available in nearly 1,500 locations across Louisiana. All Louisianans 18 and older are eligible for any of the approved vaccines. Louisianans between the ages of 12 and 17 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine only.
According to the CDC, more than 1.4 million Louisianans are fully vaccinated, around 30.5 percent of the population. The most vaccinated population, by age, is people 65 and older. Nearly 72 percent of people 65 and older in Louisiana are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
On May 14, Gov. Edwards announced that 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. The Gov noted that a growing number of studies on the COVID vaccines have shown the following: More than 90% 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. For questions, find a provider or event call the COVID Vaccine Hotline at 855-453-0774.