THE INVESTIGATORS: Governor responds to pictures showing lack of social distancing over Memorial Day weekend

Governor responds to photos of people in large gatherings with no masks over Memorial Day weekend

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - With just five days until Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to make an announcement that could reopen more of the state, Louisiana seems to be continuing down the right path.

“So we’re doing relatively well,” said Edwards in a press conference held Wednesday, May 27.

The numbers are trending downward. The state saw 443 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, and hospitalizations have hit the lowest point in two months. All the good news though, comes on the heels of plenty of pictures shared with the 9News Investigators showing folks jammed into stores and bars over the Memorial Day weekend. From the looks of it, the last thing on their minds was wearing a mask or social distancing. Health experts also tell WAFB the images are concerning.

A long line of people, many not wearing masks, gathered outside the Ross Dress for Less in Baton Rouge over Memorial Day weekend.
A long line of people, many not wearing masks, gathered outside the Ross Dress for Less in Baton Rouge over Memorial Day weekend. (Source: Facebook)

RELATED STORY>>> THE INVESTIGATORS: Health experts concerned over lack of social distancing in spots over Memorial Day weekend

“I’ve seen the pictures and I know not everybody was responsible,” said Gov. Edwards.

Responding to those pictures, Gov. Edwards pleaded with the public once again to do their part, warning what could happen if folks refuse.

“Those who don’t are asking for trouble and it’s not something that many people are consciously asking for, but for whatever reason, some folks are not complying with that and we need compliance,” said the governor.

While we have certainly made progress, the governor says state officials are watching the numbers closely and that will determine if Louisiana is ready to move on to Phase 2 of reopening. If people are not responsible as they gather, the reopening could be delayed or even reversed if the weekend partying causes infections to spike.

“Approximately 25 percent who are going to get this disease are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. They don’t know they have it, they aren’t going to get tested, but they are nevertheless contagious,” said Edwards. “That’s one of the things that makes it very difficult, so the mask is a huge part of making sure that we don’t have a spike in cases again like we saw a couple of months ago.”

He tells WAFB while many are getting a little eager to enjoy themselves and get back to whatever normal they can, it’s important to remember the virus has not gone anywhere and the threat is still real.

“There’s an awful lot of COVID-19 out there. It’s as contagious as it was two months ago and it’s as deadly as it was two months ago,” he added.

As parties like the one at a bar on the river in Tangipahoa Parish over the holiday weekend rage on, only time will tell whether choosing not to wear a mask now might set everyone back in the coming weeks.

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