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COVID order relaxed

Civic Center, other venues fully open
Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Ruston Civic Center and Historic Fire Station are fully reopened today as a result of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ lifting COVID-19 crowd size and capacity guidelines for businesses.

The updated public health order will remain in place for 30 days and will be extended as long as Louisiana is actively responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Edwards said.

For the city of Ruston, the relaxed order means the Civic Center and Historic Fire Station “will be back full blown,” Mayor Ronny Walker said.

The facilities closed in March 2020. The Civic Center began to reopen in April of this year when, under a previous order, Edwards said indoor venues could operate at 75% capacity while enforcing 6 feet of social distancing but without masks, or at 100% capacity with mask required and enforced.

But last month, Edwards lifted the mask order. All of which means, the Civic Center can return to its prepandemic usage, Walker said.

He said both the Civic Center and Historic Fire Station are being booked “like crazy.”

Meanwhile, the Lincoln Parish Library Events Center can also now apparently fully reopen. The library board voted last week that the center will “observe the most current mandate” concerning COVID health and safety regulations.

Library Director Marcie Nelson could not be reached for comment.

Edwards said during his Tuesday afternoon press conference that the availability of vaccines, the 1.4 million Louisianans who have taken the shots, and the state’s hitting a new low in COVID-related hospitalizations were the reasons the state could have its fewest mandated restrictions since the pandemic began almost 15 months ago.

Local governments and businesses can still impose stricter rules if they wish to do so, Edwards said, including mandating masks.

Edwards said Louisiana is currently ranked No. 31 nationwide in COVID cases per capita, down from its No. 1 ranking earlier in the pandemic.