BATON ROUGE, La.—Capacity restriction mandates continue to lift across the United States. As of yesterday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has lifted some capacity limits on businesses—including bars and restaurants—through April 28. However, the statewide mask mandate will continue, according to TheHill.com
Salons, gyms and malls will no longer have capacity limits, and the governor removed pandemic-related limits on when bars and restaurants may serve alcohol. However, masks and “socially distanced seated service” are still required, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
Despite the relaxed restrictions, businesses and venues that host large gatherings, such as reception halls, will still have a 50% capacity limit, with a maximum of 500 people allowed indoors with social distancing. Large outdoor events will also be capped at 50% capacity.
“Right now, we have fewer people hospitalized with COVID-19 than we did this time last year, and we have a greatly improved supply of three highly effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines, which are available to everyone 16 and older in Louisiana,” Edwards added. “While COVID-19 and its variants remain a major public health risk, using the tools of vaccination, masking and distancing, we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.”
The move to ease some safety restrictions across the state comes as health experts continue to advise against doing so. However, Louisiana’s decision to continue the statewide mask mandate is a break from other Southern states, including Texas and Mississippi, which lifted their mask requirements earlier this month, generating some controversy as businesses debated what policies they should keep or discontinue.
On Tuesday, Arkansas also announced it would be ending its statewide mask mandate and would open COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone older than 16. Iowa and Montana have also discarded mask mandates, while Massachusetts and South Carolina have lifted some restrictions on larger gatherings.
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