La. will move to Phase 3 starting Friday; statewide mask mandate remains in place

Gov. Edwards says La. will move into Phase 3 starting Friday, Sept. 11

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards announced Thursday, Sept. 10 that Louisiana will move to Phase 3 of the White House’s plan for reopening the U.S. economy starting Friday, Sept. 11.

The announcement was made during a news conference held Thursday. Gov. Edwards did not give many specifics about what his new proclamation would allow, but did say the statewide mask mandate would remain in place through Phase 3.

He was quick to clarify that Phase 3 is not a lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions.

“Every CDC guideline remains in place,” he said.

Gov. Edwards also said it was “extremely important” for residents to continue to practice mitigation measures such as wearing masks while out in public, social distancing, practicing proper hygiene, limiting activity in public, and staying home when sick.

Watch the governor’s full news conference below.

FULL VIDEO: Gov. Edwards announces state moving to Phase Three

The governor said Louisiana remains number one in the U.S. for the number of COVID-19 cases per capita. He’s expected to give more details regarding what Phase 3 will include during a news conference scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11.

Louisiana has been in Phase 2 since June 5 and Gov. Edwards closed bars for on-premises consumption and mandated masks statewide July 13. Gov. Edwards has indicated his statewide mask mandate is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future, regardless of the phase of reopening the state is in.

The state has seen a steady decline in the percentage of positive tests since the mask mandate was put in place in mid-July, leading to a drop in hospitalizations.

The White House’s recommendations for Phase 3 of reopening the economy allow expanded seating at restaurants and expanded visitation at nursing homes. Almost everyone would be encouraged to return to work.

Phase 3 guidelines also include bars and gyms, however, the governor may choose to keep some restrictions in place.

WAFB’s Matt Houston reports President Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force has continuously encouraged Gov. Edwards to keep bars closed as part of their specific suggestions for Louisiana.

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