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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) on Tuesday announced that he will partially lift the state’s mask mandate this week, The Associated Press reported.

Holding a press conference on the state’s response to COVID-19, Edwards shared the new updates to the mask mandate that will begin on Wednesday, which includes people being required to wear their masks on public transit and in health care facilities, daycare centers, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, according to theAP. 

Masks will also still be required in private business and local government buildings, even though some local businesses can enact their own mask mandates, as well.  

This comes as Louisiana is seeing a significant decline in people hospitalized due to COVID-19 since vaccinations have started, with Edwards expanding access to vaccines to anyone older than the age of 16. 

However, public health officials worry that a more contagious variant of the virus will continue to spread in the state, which on Tuesday ranked 41st among states in the number of vaccine doses administered per capita, according to the AP. 

Louisiana joins other southern states that have ended their mask mandates or never enacted one. The state’s executive order ends in May.

Tags COVID-19 pandemic in Louisiana Face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic John Bel Edwards Louisiana mask mandate

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