Louisiana will stay in Phase 3 until Nov. 6


    New Orleans Mask
    Visitors walk past face mask signs along Decatur Street in the French Quarter on July 14, 2020 in New Orleans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

    Louisiana will stay in Phase 3 of its coronavirus reopening plan, which means there will be a statewide mask mandate and restrictions on bars for at least another 28 days, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a Thursday afternoon press conference at the Louisiana State Police Training Academy in Baton Rouge.

    “All the mitigation measures that are in place were those recommended by the White House Coronavirus Task Force,” the governor said. Edwards, who met with Deborah Birx, the head of the task force last month, said Birx made it clear then that “the next couple of months are going to be incredibly important, especially as we see the advent of flu season.”

    Edwards also announced that alcohol sales will be allowed at sporting events, subject to the same types of restrictions that remain on bars in Louisiana.Of the 40 parishes that qualify to open bars, 27 have done so, Edwards said. 

    “There just isn’t a lot further to go loosening restrictions until we are fully back to normal,” Edwards said.

    Edwards also reported 526 new COVID-19 cases and five new deaths, the lowest reported daily death count since March. “While every death is painful… the fact that we can talk about five deaths, and not 30 or 40 or 50 or 60, like we were doing at one point, really is gratifying,” Edwards said. “Very soon, I will be able to say we had 0 deaths.”