On August 2, 2021, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued Proclamation Number 137 JBE 2021, reinstating a statewide mask mandate that requires all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks “when indoors, in any place outside of a private residence.” The mandate will become effective on Wednesday, August 4, 2021.
The indoor mask mandate contains several well-known exceptions, including situations where an individual will not come in contact with others (e.g., working in an office) or will be able to maintain physical distance of at least six feet from other people; any child under the age of five not enrolled in a kindergarten [sic] program; any individual while consuming food or drinks; or any individual with a medical condition that prevents the person from wearing a mask. The proclamation permits trespassing laws to be enforced against “a worker, customer, or patron” who refuses to wear a mask and “enters the premises or refuses to leave the premises.” The proclamation also allows local authorities and “private businesses” to implement more restrictive measures. Finally, Governor Edwards’ order adopted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance dated January 29, 2021, that mandated face masks for all passengers and operators of public transportation. The mask requirement does not apply to individuals when outdoors.
The governor’s action closely followed the mandate issued by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell on July 30, 2021, requiring masks for individuals who are indoors with “people who are not members of their immediate household.” The mayor also ordered City of New Orleans employees and employees of city contractors to get vaccinated.
Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and will post updates in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.