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Mayor Cantrell lifts mask mandate for New Orleans

Ben Depp

As of Friday Oct. 29, New Orleanians will no longer be required to wear masks in most public spaces, Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced Wednesday.

The policy announcement comes one day after the city said it would continue enforcing indoor masking after Gov. John Bel Edwards announced it was dropping the statewide indoor mask mandate.

But 24 hours later Cantrell announced that the city will “move largely in line with the state.”

A mask mandate remains for healthcare facilities, K-12 schools and public transportation in New Orleans. Some businesses, like bars and restaurants, are still required to ask for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before guests can enter their establishments. Proof of either a negative antigen or a PCR test are now accepted for all indoor activities.

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Orleans Parish have dropped significantly in the last several weeks.

“The indoor mask mandate that was in place over the past several months helped us reduce the sure in cases we saw due to the Delta variant,” New Orleans health director Dr. Jennifer Avegno said in the press release.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the test positivity rate for Orleans Parish dropped to .9% last week from 1.1% in the previous week. Data from the city shows the rate at approximately .6% for this week.

Despite the low numbers, Avegno reminded residents that “the pandemic is not over.” The city is encouraging residents to continue to wear masks indoors.

The latest mask mandate was put in place on July 30, during the surge of the Delta variant, as cases and hospitalizations throughout the state skyrocketed.

According to the press release more than 75% of vaccine-eligible residents are fully vaccinated. That number is subject to change as children ages 5 to 11 may soon be able to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. In Tuesday’s press conference, city spokesman Beau Tidwell said 77% of all city employees are vaccinated.

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Bobbi-Jeanne Misick