Louisiana will implement a statewide mask order for everyone 8 and older, Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a press conference Saturday.
Edwards also announced that bars throughout the state will closed for on-site consumption.
The Executive Order announcing these new changes will be signed Saturday, Edwards said, and all changes go into effect at 12:01 a.m. CST Monday morning.
Parishes in the state can opt out of the mask mandate if they don't have a high positivity rate, but Edwards said only three would qualify to do so right now.
We know that face masks work," Edwards said. "It really is that simple."
Edwards said he is closing the bars to on-site consumption, but allowing curbside pickup, because of the uptick in cases traced to the bars. At least 36 outbreaks have been traced to bars, with more than 400 people testing positive who were in those bars.
Edwards said that any social gathering will be limited to 50 people indoors and outdoors. Many of the new cases are being traced to gatherings such as informal backyard gatherings, he said.
Louisiana has seen Covid-19 cases rise in the recent weeks, with positivity rates hovering above 10% a majority of the past week. As CNN previously reported, Friday saw the highest day of new cases since the pandemic began.
Obviously, we hope to avoid going backwards. We hope to avoid closing businesses again," Edwards said. "What we cannot do is go back to a time where we're running out of hospital beds and ventilators."
Patients hospitalized due to the virus have steadily increased over the past two weeks.
"We cannot risk losing our capacity to deliver lifesaving care," Edwards said.
He said the steps announced today are not the steps he wanted to take, but that they are essential.
Phase 2 for Louisiana is set to expire on July 24. Edwards said that officials will look at the data and decide what happens after that date.