New Orleans drops mask mandate as coronavirus numbers fall


FILE In this Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 file photo, Bourbon Street, which is normally packed with revelers, is seen deserted during Mardi Gras in the French Quarter of New Orleans. After over a year where the coronavirus largely put an end to parades, an assortment of witches, goblins and other masked creatures are set to take to the streets Saturday night in the city’s first large, float parade since the pandemic took hold. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans is largely ending a mandate requiring residents and visitors wear masks indoors.

Wednesday’s announcement by Mayor LaToya Cantrell comes as infections of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus continue to fall. The mayor says the mandate will be lifted Friday with a few exceptions: Masks will still be required in healthcare facilities, on public transportation and in K-12 schools.

The mask mandate was implemented July 30 as the fourth surge of the coronavirus pandemic packed hospitals.

On Tuesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards largely ended a statewide mask mandate, saying the worst of the latest surge appeared to be over.

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