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'I just hope it’s not too soon' | Louisiana lifts mask mandate

“Low risk or lower risk does not mean no risk."

NEW ORLEANS —    
Chloe Russo from New Orleans started wearing a mask before it was a statewide mandate back in mid-July.

“I just feel it’s our responsibility to keep everyone safe,” Russo said.

Beginning Wednesday morning, that statewide mandate ends.

“I think it is a reflection of where we are at this stage of the pandemic,” Gov.John Bel Edwards said.

Gov. Edwards says because of improving COVID numbers, local governments and individual businesses can now set their own rules. There are some exceptions though. Masks will still be required inside many state buildings, on public transit, at K-12 schools, at colleges and universities and inside health care facilities.

“I’ve been vaccinated for a month, so I’m kind of glad to see that I can at least not have the shame of walking around without one anymore,” said Paul Soniet from New Orleans

The state’s health officer, Dr. Joseph Kanter, says vaccinations play a big role in going mask-less but doesn’t want folks to let their guard down.

“Low risk or lower risk does not mean no risk,” Dr. Kanter said.

Masks aren’t just going away though and neither is the worry.

“I just hope it’s not too soon. I hope the variants don’t take hold. There’s always that big question mark,” said Arthur Porras, who was visiting New Orleans from Texas.

Even with the lifting of the mask mandate the governor says masks are still recommended, especially if you’re in one of those venerable categories or unvaccinated. Right now, the governor says only about 26 percent of the state is fully vaccinated.

“We’re going to have to continue to work hard to increase those numbers, but it is a good start,” said Edwards.

As some masks began to come off, Russo says personal responsibility should stay on.

“I think if you want to participate in the mask mandate being lifted you have the responsibility to go and get vaccinated,” Russo said.