"If we want to bend the curve again and get this back under control without having to got back to phase one or phase zero, now is our time," said Governor John Bel Edwards during Saturday's press briefing on coronavirus.
Starting Monday, you'll be required to wear a mask in public and areas where you can't be socially distant under the Governor's new mask mandate.
The mandate comes a day after the state saw one of the highest number of new COVID-19 cases.
Everyone over the age of 8 must wear masks, but there are some exceptions.
You can be exempt if you have a breathing or health problem. Also parishes with low COVID-19 cases can opt out. During Saturday's press conference, the governor said there are only three parishes in the state that don't have high rates of infections. Those parishes are Grant, Red River, and West Feliciana.
Edwards said the decision was made because current restrictions are just not enough. It's an effort to prevent the state from going back to Phase One.
The mandate is getting mixed reactions from the public.
With an increase in cases, Governor Edwards says masks are necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19.
With his mandate making masks a requirement, some in Acadiana say it's a good move. "Everybody's entitled to their opinion. I think he's looking out for the greater good," said Grant Buxton.
It's a topic that hits close to home for Grant Buxton. Buxton recently lost a loved one to the virus. "Unfortunately, there's another person I know, not in contact with but has succumbed to the illness. We need to take this seriously."
Buxton along with others say the mandate is needed during the pandemic.
"It is what it is. Not everybody is going to like it but what are you going to do? You got to comply. Just get up everyday do the right thing, take care of
yourself, wash your hands, be respectful of others. We're gonna ride this out and we're going to come out way ahead," said Donna Gennuso.
Not everyone feels the same about the mask mandate.
Some who didn't want to be shown on camera disagreed with the mandate. One person saying, "This virus is not going away, you cannot force people to wear masks."
Some comments on KATC's Facebook page also echoing the same thoughts.
One commented, "Wearing one should be a choice." Another refusing to wear one, calling masks "useless".
Governor Edwards says while there are opponents to the mandate, he stressed the move is all about safety and Buxton agrees.
"Don't make it political, make it more about a health conscious decision. That's what we need to do and I think that's what the governor is trying to tell us. He's got family and friends just like we do and we're just trying to be good citizens," said Buxton.
Another change will impact all bars.
Bars will sell "to-go only" under the new restrictions.
The new order also limits the size of indoor social gatherings to 50 people, but essential businesses are exempt.
This along with the mask mandate will all go into effect Monday morning at 12:01 A.M.
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