Ironically, Louisianans no longer had to wear masks in time for Halloween, the day in-person commercial sports betting kicked off in the state at Harrah’s New Orleans.
Effective October 27, Gov. John Bel Edwards, with his issuance of Proclamation No. 203 JBE 2021, rescinded the statewide mask mandate everywhere except in K-12 schools. (Students’ vaccination statuses don’t affect the policy). Cities can issue their mandates as they see fit, and federal mandates still include masking on mass transport and health facilities.
Granted that it doesn’t mandate masks, the Proclamation encourages mask-wearing “regardless of vaccination status,” citing the continuing risk of Covid-19.
Edwards has lifted the mask mandate for the second time. He first did so on April 27 but reinstated it in August during the area’s Delta variant surge, the deadliest of the pandemic as of that time.
His decision runs counter to guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recommends that every not fully vaccinated person over two years old wear a mask in an indoor public space.
The good news and the bad news
The governor’s mandate states that the rescission comes with the,
“Reduction in the number of cases, test percent positivity, and hospitalization. Based on the current level of transmission of COVID-19 in Louisiana.”
The Proclamation calls it significant progress, noting that prior mitigation measures had proved effective. Edwards gave a shout-out to,
“…The people of Louisiana who stepped up to the plate when we needed them to.”
As of December 1, 2021, Louisiana was tied with Hawaii for the lowest hospitalization rate in the country. Unfortunately, the governor’s order mentioned that 57 out of the state’s 64 parishes,
“Still fall in the category of high community risk.”
It smells like vaccine spirit
New Orleans is now in “Modified Phase 3.”
Furthermore, the city’s mask mandate terminated in concert with the state mandate lifting by order of Mayor LaToya Cantrell. Whose previous strict cautionary conditions of the town received praise. Masks remain a must only in health care facilities, on public transport, and in K-12.
Over 75% of adults in New Orleans are fully vaccinated, and on the Wednesday before Halloween, there were only 35 recorded Covid cases in the city. And Cantrell is permitting negative PCR or antigen tests within 72 hours rather than vaccination proof as a condition for anyone ages 12 or older entering a casino or other business.
However, it recommends that unvaccinated individuals over two years old wear masks in public indoor spaces.
Where to wear masks in Louisiana?
You can’t smoke. You don’t have to mask up — it’s like a whole new era at Louisiana casinos. Here is the state of masking requirements at a few of them:
- L’Auberge casino now requires masks.
- Belle of Baton Rouge casino now requires masks.
- Harrah’s Louisiana Downs now requires masks.
- Harrah’s New Orleans, the first U.S. casino to require proof of vaccination status or negative Covid testing, still requires visitors to wear masks.
- Coushatta Casino Resort masks are not necessary.
- Treasure Chest Casino does not require masks but still recommends them.