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Louisiana remains in Phase Two

Wednesday, February 10, 2021
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In this screenshot from Tuesday's press conference broadcast, Gov. John Bel Edwards receives his first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has extended Louisiana’s current modified Phase Two coronavirus restrictions for 21 more days in the face of concerns about the encroaching U.K. variant of the virus and the possible adverse effects of next week’s Mardi Gras celebrations.

Edwards made the announcement Tuesday during a press event that included his receiving his first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, along with several other members of the state’s Unified Command Group.

“There has been some progress over the last month or so,” Edwards said, referring to the plateau in new COVID cases. “We’re very thankful for that. The fact of the matter is the baseline numbers remain very high and concerning.”

The governor said he is “hopeful” he will be able to ease some of the restrictions when the new order expires March 3 if the state continues to see declines in the number of new cases of COVID-19 and related hospitalizations.

But as of now, “there’s still a lot to be concerned about,” Edwards said.

Louisiana moved into Phase Three restrictions in September, but two months later, on the approach of the holiday season, Edwards put the state back in the modified Phase Two constraints.

The restrictions limit most businesses to 50% occupancy. Louisiana’s mask mandate also remains in place.

Edwards said part of his decision to remain in Phase Two stemmed from “what Mardi Gras did to our state last year.” The 2020 Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans are blamed with hastening the statewide spread of COVID-19.

Mardi Gras is Tuesday. Traditional parades have been canceled, bars in the New Orleans area closed and the city placed on lockdown from 6 a.m. Friday until 6 a.m.