BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday he’s keeping Louisiana’s current coronavirus restrictions on businesses and activities in place for another month, even though those rules have provoked the ire of Republican lawmakers who convened a special session hoping to undo many or all of them.
At a news briefing focused mainly on the impending arrival of Hurricane Delta, the Democratic governor announced he’s renewed the terms of his pandemic emergency order with few changes and is maintaining the statewide mask mandate through Nov. 6. The restrictions had been set to expire Friday if Edwards didn’t act.
The rules — described as a Phase 3 order — were enacted in September and were loosened from previous orders.
Restaurants, churches, gyms and most other businesses can operate at 75% of their capacity. Sports events such as high school and college football have crowd limits of 25%, which allows 25,000 fans in LSU’s Tiger Stadium, for example. One change in Edwards’ latest rules will allow alcohol sales again in some stadiums.
The virus has killed at least 5,416 people in Louisiana, according to the state health department. About 86% of the deaths have involved people aged 60 or older. The state’s death rate is the fifth highest per capita in the country.