BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards says he’ll continue Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate and the business restrictions he enacted to combat the coronavirus outbreak for at least three more weeks.
The rules were set to expire Friday, but the Democratic governor said Tuesday he’ll extend them through Aug. 28.
Edwards says the state has “made early fragile gains” in slowing the virus spread but couldn’t risk lifting the restrictions yet.
Dr. Alex Billioux, the governor’s chief public health adviser, estimated Louisiana still has at least 50,000 active coronavirus cases where people can shed the virus to others. He said: “We are not in a position where we think we can start to peel away restrictions.”
Several lawsuits are trying to get some of the rules thrown out as overstepping Edwards’ authority.
The governor’s decision comes as Edwards joined the leaders of Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia in announcing an interstate compact to buy 3 million rapid-use coronavirus tests.